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Early morning arthritis may be cracked

5th October 2006

There is good news for arthritis sufferers as a drug company releases positive results from a new trial.

The UK company SkyePharma has found that its drug Lodotra had beneficial effects during a phase III trial with sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Lodotra is being pitched as an alternative to the immediate release versions of the drug prednisone but aims to relieve early morning symptoms due to its slow-release design.

This means that some of the drug is not released until four hours after it has been ingested, giving the patient an extra dose without disturbing their sleep.

"These results confirm the hypotheses that the adaptation of the timing of oral glucocorticoids to the circadian rhythms in RA could lead to a more effective therapy without increasing the dose of prednisone," said Professor Frank Buttgereit, who led the trial.

Lodotra's beneficial effects are heightened by the study's concurrent finding that existing immediate release treatments offer no symptomatic benefits in the early morning, when the drug is taken before sleep.