Clinical trials on an experimental nerve blockers that relieve pain but can destroy joints should go on as planned, say advisers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Testing on the drugs was halted in 2010 after nearly 500 people taking the medication had to under go joint replacement surgeries. The panel, which voted unanimously to resume testing, said the medication provides a benefit to people with no other treatment options.
The drugs, made by Pfizer Inc. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., are part of a new class of medications known as nerve growth factors. They work by blocking a protein called nerve growth factor that is associated with nerve pain. If approved, the drugs could be the first biotechnology drugs specifically for pain.
The medications were being tested for the treatment of common conditions such as low back pain and osteoarthritis, or damage to the joints caused by wear and tear. They have also been tested in patients with other conditions such as bladder pain syndrome, and some say they could also help with wound repair and the growth of new blood vessels. Some experts speculate that the joint problems associated with the drugs may be because they block the beneficial effects of the growth protein.
Pfizer is the closest to gaining approval for its drug, tanezumab. The drug company had already gathered positive data on pain control when the clinical trials for the medication were halted in June 2010 because of joint problems.
Source: Fox News