RAMUS (Rheumatoid Arthritis Muscle Study)
Principal Investigator: Professor John Isaacs
People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often have problems with muscle weakness and wasting (sarcopenia) as well as joint inflammation. In fact we think that the inflammation of RA may lead to loss of muscle. Muscle weakness contributes to the impact of the disease by causing reduced mobility, and by affecting people’s ability to perform normal daily tasks. We do not know very much about how drugs used to treat RA affect muscle.
Muscles produce a chemical in the blood called creatinine and the amount of creatinine roughly reflects how muscular a person is. One of the newer RA drugs, called tofacitinib, has been shown to raise the levels of creatinine in some people with RA. One possible explanation for this is that these people have regained some of the muscle they had lost as a consequence of their arthritis.
This study aims to investigate the effect of tofacitinib on the muscles of people with RA. Improving our understanding in this area will better equip us to treat people with RA and help them regain their normal strength and function. Furthermore, any benefits seen in people with RA may well extend to other conditions associated with sarcopenia, including ageing itself. Therefore this work could have wide-ranging implications for our ageing population.