The Ministry of Health announced this Friday (1st) the use of the drug baricitinib for Covid-19. According to the government, this will be the “first drug for the treatment of Covid-19 in the Unified Health System (SUS)”.
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The supply of the drug in the SUS was defined after a decision by the National Commission for the Incorporation of Technologies in the Unified Health System (Conitec), which recommended the use of the drug. The drug is marketed by Eli Lilly under the name Olumiant.
“The drug baricitinib will be made available for the treatment of hospitalized adult patients who need oxygen by mask or nasal catheter. Baricitinib is already registered in Brazil for the treatment of moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis and moderate to severe atopic dermatitis,” the ministry said. .
The same drug was recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has also been approved by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).
Baractinib is a drug that acts on the immune system, helping in the process of recovery from inflammatory conditions. More specifically, it reduces the action of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a substance linked to the occurrence of inflammatory reactions generated by various diseases and presents with high levels in more severe cases of the disease.
According to the manufacturer Eli Lilly, the drug is indicated for the treatment of Covid-19 in hospitalized adult patients who require oxygen by mask or nasal catheter, or who require high flow oxygen or non-invasive ventilation.
How effective is the drug?
According to the drugmaker, the COV-BARRIER study evaluated the use of the drug and demonstrated a potential 38% reduction in mortality on day 28 of treatment.
“The study was global and included patients from several countries with a high prevalence of hospitalizations for Covid-10 — USA, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Russia, India, UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan and Korea. Brazil was a of the countries with the highest number of study participants with 366 patients in 18 clinical centers in 5 states of the country”, explained Eli Lilly.
Also according to the company, the oral drug has been approved in more than 70 countries for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis and more recently for atopic dermatitis.
In Brazil, the drug has been approved for this use since 2018 in the indication for rheumatoid arthritis and since 2021 for atopic dermatitis, and in 2020 Conitec approved the use of Olumiant for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in the SUS, where it is already distributed to patients for this indication.
The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) had already approved the use of the drug on September 17, 2021. “This is a new therapeutic indication, as baricitinib is registered in Brazil for the treatment of moderate to active rheumatoid arthritis severe and moderate to severe atopic dermatitis”, informed Anvisa at the time.
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