Is Lenabasum Safe

The safety level of lenabasum

Image Credit: By Iren Moroz on Shutterstock

Lenabasum (anabasum, JBT-101, ajulemic acid, AJA, IP-751, CT-3, resunab) is a new drug by Corbus Pharmaceuticals that, at the time that this article was written, was undergoing clinical studies. Phase 2 studies confirmed the efficacy and safety of lenabasum for the treatment of systemic sclerosis (SSc), dermatomyositis (DM), cystic fibrosis and systemic lupus erythematosus (also just known as lupus).

Lenabasum is mostly similar to THC (a chemical analog), though there are specific differences, and lenabasum is produced synthetically. Imagine the molecule as a piece of jigsaw, it’d be identical to THC on all sides but one. As a result, in the body, it’s targets also differ. Unlike THC, it doesn’t have the psychoactive effect.

Clinical trials being run on the drug at the moment are double blind, randomized, placebo controlled studies. This means that both the researchers and participants won’t know who is taking the drug or the placebo until the end of the research. This prevents damage to the results that may happen due to people favoring specific a outcome.

What does lenabasum do?

Lenabasum has been reported to have an effect on arthritis, fibrosis, and metastatic disease. However, clinical trials focus on conditions involving inflammation and fibrosis. Fibrotic diseases are those in which excessive scarring causes issues with bodily function.

Studies assessing the efficacy of lenabasum in the treatment of cystic fibrosis and in the treatment of diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis are underway. These studies are in phase 2 and phase 3 respectively at the time this article was written. Up-to-date details are available on the clinical studies site for the US .

At the moment, research suggests that lenabasum works on inflammatory mediators. This means it reduce inflammation by changing the signals the body. It’s also thought to bind to cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2). This is thought to directly reduce the amount of scarring associated with fibrotic diseases.

What are the side effects?

When it comes to the safety of lenabasum, as with any new treatment, side effects are rigorously tested in phase two of the drug trials. Only 33% of drugs in this stage pass these tests. The idea is to run tests in large groups of up to 3000 people, over a long time (Up to 4 years!) to give an opportunity for rare or long-term side effects to show.

Studies have shown that there is no evidence for ulcers forming as a result of using lenabasum as an anti-inflammatory. The drug is also expected to have a low dependence liability (meaning it’s not addictive).

Normally, anti-inflammatory medicines come with a range of side effects. However, generally a lack of adverse side effects has been found. Although lenabasum is so similar to THC, only THC possesses psychoactive effects. However, phase 2 tests for many conditions are still underway, so we still don’t have a clear picture on the side effects.

THC does possess side effects including but not limited to increased anxiousness, cardiovascular effects, sleep difficulties, and an increased risk of schizophrenia. Some of these may be shared by lenabasum as it’s a THC analogue. However, nothing is certain until phase 2 is complete. The FDA is also pretty good at posting drug trial summaries online once trials have finished.

Are there any interactions

One of the easiest areas to overlook when taking medicines is the interactions. For example, acetaminophen (paracetamol/tylenol) should not be taken with alcohol. As this drug is still in trials, drug and food interactions are not clear yet. But check back and we’ll keep you up to date as more information is made available.

Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly is registered with the British Psychological Society, breaking the taboo on mental health issues is one of the driving forces in his life. His background in biomedicine gives him additional understanding of the factors that work together to influence the human condition.

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