09.08.2023 | Commentary
A need for clinical trial: re-purposing the Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAO-I) for rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
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There is a group of enzymes called monoamine oxidase(s) (MAOs) that help with the oxidation of amines found in both our diet and our bodies. Currently, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO-Is) are utilized to manage conditions like depression, Parkinson’s disease, and other psychiatric disorders. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune disease that has been linked to negative changes in mental health, such as depression. When depression co-occurs with RA, it can further worsen the outcome of the disease. Inhibiting monoamine oxidases could potentially treat RA by improving its pathological markers. Using existing pre-clinical and clinical data on safety and toxicity makes drug re-purposing advantageous. Hence, the pre-clinical validation of MAO-I’s effectiveness in managing RA requires urgent regulatory intervention to commence clinical trials. Back in 1983, a clinical case report put forward the idea of repurposing MAO-I for RA treatment. Although MAO-I had been used for depression, it was observed to have a significant reduction in joint pain and stiffness. However, no significant clinical research has been conducted on this matter since then. In this commentary article, we provide a summary of the pre-clinical data that is currently available. The main focus of our discussion is on the significance of clinical trials for MAO-I, repurposing it for RA, and using it for the simultaneous management of depression and RA.