November 1, 2013: A new randomized study published in the November 1, 2013 issue of the journal Spine (Freeman, B.J., et al., Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled, Trial of Transforaminal Epidural Etanercept for the Treatment of Symptomatic Lumbar Disc Herniation. Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2013. 38(23): p. 1986-94) provides new evidence for the efficacy of a TNF inhibitor for relief of persistent sciatica associated with lumbar disc herniation. Etanercept is a potent anti-inflammatory drug that is a selective blocker of an immune signaling molecule called TNF. Local perilesional methods of administration of etanercept, including epidural injection for treating sciatica associated with lumbar disc herniation were invented by Edward Tobinick M.D. more than a decade earlier (U.S. patent 6,419,944; 6,537,549; and others).
The new Spine study now constitutes the third published favorable clinical trial providing randomized, controlled trial (RCT) data of the efficacy of etanercept for treating sciatica. Dr. Tobinick was the first to publish human data reporting the effectiveness of etanercept for this indication in 2003, with a larger study published in 2004 (Tobinick, E. and S. Davoodifar, Efficacy of etanercept delivered by perispinal administration for chronic back and/or neck disc-related pain: a study of clinical observations in 143 patients. Curr Med Res Opin, 2004. 20(7): p. 1075-85).