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1.  Expanding the armamentarium for the spondyloarthropathies 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2004;6(Suppl 2):S36-S43.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a member of the family of spondyloarthropathies, which are inflammatory arthritides largely involving the axial skeleton and commonly accompanied by peripheral arthritis. Genetic factors, particularly the presence of HLA-B27, are major contributors to the susceptibility for AS. Despite some therapeutic advances, the treatment options for patients with AS and related disorders have been limited. Several lines of evidence have led to the hypothesis that patients with AS might benefit from treatment with tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Specifically, TNF concentrations are known to be significantly elevated in the synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in the inflamed gut of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, and in the inflamed sacroiliac joints of patients with AS. The anti-TNF agents have been shown to be of benefit in, and currently have indications for, RA (etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab), Crohn's disease (infliximab), and psoriatic arthritis (etanercept). Because the spondyloarthropathies share pathogenetic mechanisms with the above-specified disease states, studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-TNF agents in several disorders, including AS. Data from clinical trials so far with infliximab and etanercept show that patients with AS and related disorders achieve significant improvement in clinical signs and symptoms based on validated outcomes measures. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can facilitate the early diagnosis of AS. Studies with infliximab using MRI together with updated scoring methods demonstrated significant decreases in associated spinal inflammation. TNF antagonist therapy is well tolerated in patients with AS, with a side effect profile consistent with the prior experience of patients with RA.
PMCID: PMC2833456  PMID: 15228620
efficacy; etanercept; infliximab; spondyloarthropathies; tumor necrosis factor
2.  The impact of infliximab treatment on quality of life in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases 
In this study, we compare the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and study the effect of treatment with infliximab on the HRQoL of patients with these diseases. Short Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36) data from the placebo-controlled phases of 4 studies of infliximab in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases (n = 1990) were evaluated. Data came from the Anti-TNF Trial in Rheumatoid Arthritis with Concomitant Therapy (ATTRACT) (n = 428), the Safety Trial for Rheumatoid Arthritis with REMICADE Therapy (START) (n = 1083), the Ankylosing Spondylitis Study for the Evaluation of Recombinant Infliximab Therapy (ASSERT) (n = 279), and the Infliximab Multinational Psoriatic Arthritis Clinical Trial II (IMPACT II) (n = 200). SF-36 assessments were made at weeks 0, 10, 30, and 54 in ATTRACT, weeks 0, 6, and 22 in START, weeks 0, 12, and 24 in ASSERT, and weeks 0 and 14 in IMPACT II. All patient populations had significantly impaired physical aspects of HRQoL at baseline relative to the general population of the United States, and the magnitude of impairment was similar across the diseases. Mean baseline physical component summary scores were 29 in the RA cohort, 32 in the PsA cohort, and 29 in the AS cohort. In all 3 diseases, patients who received infliximab showed significant improvement in physical component summary scores compared with those who received placebo. The magnitude of the difference of improvement (effect size, 95%CI) between infliximab and placebo groups was similar in the AS (10.1, 9.2–11.0), PsA (8.6, 7.8–9.4), and RA (10.1, 9.2–11.0) cohorts. Patients with RA and those with PsA treated with infliximab also showed greater improvement in the mental component summary score than those in the placebo group with an effect size of 4.6 (4.2–5.1) in RA and 2.7 (2.4–3.1) in PsA. Patients in large randomized controlled studies of infliximab in RA, PsA, and AS had similar impairment in physical aspects of HRQoL at baseline and showed significantly greater improvement in HRQoL after treatment with infliximab.
PMCID: PMC2212571  PMID: 17922913
3.  Profile of certolizumab and its potential in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis 
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory arthropathy associated with psoriasis (PsO). PsA could be considered an enthesal disease because of the link between mechanical stress (entheses) and immunologically active tissue (synovium). Evidence of efficacy of anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) is supported by reduction of histological vascularity and immune cell infiltrates in synovial tissue after treatment. Certolizumab pegol (CZP) is a polyethylene glycolylated (PEGylated) Fab’ fragment of a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds and neutralizes human TNF-α. The PEG moiety of the Fab fragment, markedly increases the half-life of CZP and confers to the drug a unique structure that differs from the other anti-TNF-α agents tested for the treatment of Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, axial spondyloarthritis, nonradiographic spondyloarthritis, PsO, and PsA. In contrast to other anti-TNF-α agents, CZP did not mediate increased levels of apoptosis, suggesting that these mechanisms are not essential for the anti-TNF-α efficacy in Crohn’s disease. As CZP, infliximab, and adalimumab, but not etanercept, almost completely inhibited lipopolysaccharide-induced interleukin-1 beta release from monocytes, this cytokine-production inhibition may be relevant for drug efficacy. Due to these characteristics, it has been demonstrated in clinical studies that CZP effectively improves signs and symptoms of arthritis and physical function and skin manifestations of PsO, with a safety profile similar to rheumatoid arthritis. This drug can be considered as a valid treatment in patients affected by PsA. The efficacy and tolerability profiles suggest CZP as a suitable antipsoriatic drug in the treatment of PsA.
PMCID: PMC3633576  PMID: 23620660
psoriatic arthritis; certolizumab pegol; biological therapies; anti-TNF
Indian Journal of Dermatology  2011;56(6):752-754.
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) inhibitors, such as etanercept, infliximab, and adalimumab, bind to TNF-α and thereby act as anti-inflammatory agents. This group of drugs has been approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, ankylosing spodylitis, Crohn disease, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. We describe a 56-year-old woman who developed an erythematous pruritic rash on both arms—diagnosed as granuloma annulare by skin biopsy—approximately 22 months after initiating adalimumab for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. On stopping adalimumab there was total clearance of the skin lesions, but a similar rash developed again when her treatment was switched to another anti-TNF agent (etanercept). This clinical observation supports a link between TNF inhibition and the development of granuloma annulare.
PMCID: PMC3276915  PMID: 22345789
Adverse effect; anti-TNF therapy; granuloma annulare
5.  Association Between Anti-TNF-α Therapy and All-Cause Mortality 
Pharmacoepidemiology and drug safety  2012;21(12):1311-1320.
To compare mortality among patients with selected autoimmune diseases treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) agents with similar patients treated with non-biologic therapies.
Cohort study set within several large health care programs, 1998–2007. Autoimmune disease patients were identified using diagnoses from computerized healthcare data. Use of anti-TNF-α agents and comparison non-biologic therapies were identified from pharmacy data and mortality was identified from vital records and other sources. We compared new users of anti-TNF-α agents to new users of non-biologic therapies using propensity scores and Cox proportional hazards analysis to adjust for baseline differences. We also made head-to-head comparisons among anti-TNF-α agents.
Among the 46,424 persons included in the analysis, 2,924 (6.3%) had died by the end of follow-up, including 1,754 (6.1%) of the 28,941 with a dispensing of anti-TNF-α agent and 1,170 (6.7%) of the 17,483 who used non-biologic treatment alone. Compared to use of non-biologic therapies, use of anti-TNF-α therapy was not associated with an increased mortality in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 0.93 with 95% CI 0.85–1.03); psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis (combined aHR 0.81 with CI 0.61–1.06; or inflammatory bowel disease (aHR 1.12 with CI 0.85–1.46). Mortality rates did not differ to an important degree between patients treated with etanercept, adalimumab, or infliximab.
Anti-TNF-α therapy was not associated with increased mortality among patients with autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC3565563  PMID: 23065964
Rheumatoid arthritis; psoriatic arthritis; psoriasis; Crohn’s Disease; ulcerative colitis; inflammatory bowel disease; pharmacoepidemiology; drug safety; drug toxicity; adverse events; cohort studies; propensity scores; automated healthcare data; mortality
6.  Update on the management of inflammatory bowel disease: specific role of adalimumab 
Anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) medications are a class of biologics employed in the treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Adalimumab is the first fully human monoclonal immunoglobulin directed against TNF-α, which binds with high affinity and specificity to membrane and soluble TNF. Adalimumab administered subcutaneously has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and severe chronic psoriasis. Studies have shown that adalimumab is effective for inducing and maintaining remission of moderate-to-severe active Crohn’s disease (CD) patients at an induction dose of 160/80 mg (week 0 and 2) and at a maintenance dose of 40 mg every other week. The efficacy of adalimumab as a second-line therapy has also been documented for patients with loss of response or intolerance to infliximab. Adalimumab is also superior to placebo for inducing and maintaining complete perianal fistula closure. It also seems effective for reducing extraintestinal manifestations. The safety profile is similar to that of other anti-TNF therapy in CD patients, with lower immunogenicity and rate of adverse injection reactions than infliximab. Adalimumab is not approved for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC). Recently, however, the results of the first randomized, controlled trial on adalimumab for UC showed that adalimumab at 160/80 mg induction dose was safe and effective for inducing remission and clinical response after 8 weeks in patients with moderately-to-severely active UC failing treatment with corticosteroids and/or immunosuppressants. More data are necessary to clarify the therapeutic role of adalimumab in UC. This review of the literature summarizes available data on the efficacy and safety profile adalimumab in patients with IBD.
PMCID: PMC3163921  PMID: 21904462
anti-TNF-α; adalimumab; Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis
7.  The Changing Face of Spondyloarthropathies Under TNF α Blockade 
Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α ) therapy has been implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases. Our aim was to describe three patients with spondyloarthropathies who responded to infliximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody specific for TNF-α but developed new symptoms of spondyloarthropathies. In parallel, a review of the literature on psoriasis induced by TNF-α blockers was undertaken.
The first patient had been suffering from ankylosing spondylitis (AS) for more than 12 years. Infliximab induced a remission of AS, but he developed overt Crohn's disease two years after starting treatment. The second patient had AS for more than 20 years. Infliximab had an excellent effect on his AS, but he developed palmo-plantar psoriasis a few months after initiating therapy with the drug. The third patient, whose long-term and severe psoriasis had responded to infliximab developed peripheral arthritis. A review of the literature revealed 63 cases of psoriasis induced by TNF-α blockers (33 on Infliximab, 16 on Etanercept and 14 on Adalimumab). The underlying diseases were variable, including all the spectrum of conditions for which TNF-α blockers are indicated. Patients developed psoriasis after a mean duration of treatment of 11 months. Interstingly, a substantial proportion of patients continued treatment with TNF α blockers, the psoriasis improving in a majorityof cases under topical treatment only.
While Infliximab may change the course of spondyloarthropathy, depressing the original symptoms it may uncover other occult aspects of these diseases.
PMCID: PMC2588090  PMID: 19088872
Infliximab; spondyloarthropathy; crohn; psoriasis; anti-TNFα
8.  Update on the use of etanercept across a spectrum of rheumatoid disorders 
Biologics : Targets & Therapy  2008;2(2):165-173.
Etanercept is a soluble TNF receptor p75 fusion protein which is approved for subcutaneous use (50 mg weekly) in the treatment of patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA), juvenile RA, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. Etanercept binds to both TNFα and lymphotoxin and has quite a short mean half-life (70 hours). Numerous randomized clinical trials have demonstrated its efficacy to improve signs and symptoms in early and established RA and other inflammatory arthritis. Furthermore, etanercept has shown its ability to prevent radiographic progression and to improve health-related quality of life in patients with RA and psoriatic arthritis. A combination of etanercept plus methotrexate was more efficacious than etanercept monotherapy in RA patients but there is currently no evidence that such rheumatic combination is better than monotherapy in other disorders. Etanercept was generally well tolerated both in controlled trials with withdrawal rates being similar to the comparator groups and in large observational studies. Infections and injection-site reactions were the most frequently reported events. Serious infections were slightly increased but the occurrence of tuberculosis seemed less frequent than with anti-TNF monoclonal antibodies (infliximab and adalimumab). The benefit-risk ratio of etanercept appeared to be very positive, and this drug has now emerged as a major therapy in patients with active inflammatory arthritis. Furthermore, it is more frequently considered as an emerging and valuable option in patients with early disease.
PMCID: PMC2721350  PMID: 19707351
etanercept; TNF blockers; rheumatoid arthritis; juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; ankylosing spondylitis; psoriatic arthritis
9.  Long term efficacy and safety of etanercept in the treatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis 
Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-mediated inflammatory disease affecting both the skin and joints. Approximately 20% of patients suffer a moderate to severe form of skin disease and up to 30% have joint involvement. Standard therapies for psoriasis include topical medications, phototherapy, and both oral systemic and biological therapies whereas therapies for psoriatic arthritis include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs followed by disease modifying antirheumatic drugs and/or tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α inhibitors and interleukin-12/23p40 inhibitors. Treatment of both diseases is typically driven by disease severity. In the past decade, major advances in the understanding of the immunopathogenesis of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have led to the development of numerous biological therapies, which have revolutionized the treatment for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Anti-TNF-α agents are currently considered as first line biological therapies for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Currently approved anti-TNF-α agents include etanercept, adalimumab, and infliximab for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis as well as golimumab and certolizumab for psoriatic arthritis. In this article, we aim to evaluate the long term safety and efficacy of etanercept in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
PMCID: PMC4000175  PMID: 24790410
psoriasis; psoriatic arthritis; etanercept; biological therapy; tumor necrosis factor; safety
10.  Do anti-TNF agents have equal efficacy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis? 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2004;6(Suppl 2):S3-S11.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists have dramatically improved the outcomes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Three agents currently available in the USA – infliximab, etanercept, and adalimumab – have been designed to modify the biologic effects of TNF. Infliximab and adalimumab are monoclonal antibodies, and etanercept is a soluble protein. The pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of each differs significantly from those of the others. All three agents are effective and safe, and can improve the quality of life in patients with RA. Although no direct comparisons are available, clinical trials provide evidence that can be used to evaluate the comparative efficacy of these agents. Infliximab, in combination with methotrexate, has been shown to relieve the signs and symptoms of RA, decrease total joint score progression, prevent joint erosions and joint-space narrowing, and improve physical function for up to 2 years. Etanercept has been shown to relieve the signs and symptoms of RA, decrease total joint score progression, and slow the rate of joint destruction, and might improve physical function. Etanercept is approved with and without methotrexate for patients who have demonstrated an incomplete response to therapy with methotrexate and other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), as well as for first-line therapy in early RA, psoriatic arthritis, and juvenile RA. Adalimumab relieves the signs and symptoms of RA with and without methotrexate and other DMARDs, decreases total joint score progression, prevents joint erosions and joint-space narrowing in combination with methotrexate, and might improve physical function. When selecting a TNF antagonist, rheumatologists should weigh evidence and experience with specific agents before a decision is made for use in therapy.
PMCID: PMC2833457  PMID: 15228615
adalimumab; efficacy; etanercept; infliximab; rheumatoid arthritis
11.  Long-term safety and efficacy of etanercept in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis 
To date, anti-tumor necrosis factor alfa (anti-TNF-α) therapy is the only alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis. Etanercept is a soluble TNF receptor, with a mode of action and pharmacokinetics different to those of antibodies and distinctive efficacy and safety. Etanercept has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis, with or without radiographic sacroiliitis, and other manifestations of the disease, including peripheral arthritis, enthesitis, and psoriasis. Etanercept is not efficacious in inflammatory bowel disease, and its efficacy in the treatment of uveitis appears to be lower than that of other anti-TNF drugs. Studies of etanercept confirmed regression of bone edema on magnetic resonance imaging of the spine and sacroiliac joint, but failed to reduce radiographic progression, as do the other anti-TNF drugs. It seems that a proportion of patients remain in disease remission when the etanercept dose is reduced or administration intervals are extended. Etanercept is generally well tolerated with an acceptable safety profile in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis. The most common adverse effect of etanercept treatment is injection site reactions, which are generally self-limiting. Reactivation of tuberculosis, reactivation of hepatitis B virus infection, congestive heart failure, demyelinating neurologic disorders, hematologic disorders like aplastic anemia and pancytopenia, vasculitis, immunogenicity, and exacerbation or induction of psoriasis are class effects of all the anti-TNF drugs, and have been seen in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. However, etanercept is less likely to induce reactivation of tuberculosis than the other anti-TNF drugs and it has been suggested that etanercept might be less immunogenic, especially in ankylosing spondylitis. Acute uveitis, Crohn’s disease, and sarcoidosis are other adverse events that have been rarely associated with etanercept therapy in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.
PMCID: PMC3790868  PMID: 24101863
ankylosing spondylitis; etanercept; spondyloarthritis; efficacy; safety
12.  Influence of tumor necrosis factor α in rheumatoid arthritis  
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most prevalent inflammatory rheumatic disorder. It is a chronic and incurable disease that leads to painful inflammation, often irreversible joint damage, and eventually to functional loss.
Conventional treatment is based on unspecific immunosuppressive agents, e.g. Methotrexate, Azathioprin or Gold. However, the longterm outcomes of these approaches have been poor with frequently ongoing inflammatory disease activity, functional decline, and temporary or permanent work disability. More recently, antagonists of the human cytokine Tumor Necrosis Factor α (TNF-α) have been introduced that are potent suppressors of inflammatory processes. Infliximab is a chimeric antibody against TNF-α. Etanercept is a soluble human TNF-α receptor.
The report assesses the efficacy of TNF-α-antagonists to down-regulate inflammation, improve functional status and prevent joint damage in RA with particular regard to the following indications: Treatment of severe, refractory and ongoing disease activity despite adequate use of conventional antirheumatic agents; and treatment of early RA before conventional treatment failure has been demonstrated.
A systematic review of the literature is been performed using established electronic databases. The literature search is supplemented by a hand search of journals and publications relevant to RA, reviews of websites of national and international rheumatologic expert societies, as well as contacts to manufacturers. A priori defined inclusion and exclusion criteria are used for literature selection. Analysis and evaluation of included publications are based on standardised criteria sets and checklists of the German Scientific Working Group for Technology Assessment in Health Care.
Health Technology Assessment reports and metaanalyses cannot be identified. A total of 12 clinical trials are analysed, as well as national and international expert recommendations and practice guidelines. Numerous non-systematic reviews are found and analysed for additional sources of information that is not identified through the systematic search. Case reports and safety assessements are considered as well. A total of 137 publications is included.
The primary outcome measures in clinical trials are suppression of inflammatory disease activity and slowing of structural joint damage. Clinical response is usually measured by standardised response criteria that allow a semi-quantitative classification of improvement from baseline by 20%, 50%, or 70%.
In patients with RA refractory to conventional treatment, TNF-α-antagonists are unequivocally superior to Methotrexate with regard to disease activity, functional status and prevention of structural damage. In patients with early RA, TNF-α-antagonists show a more rapid onset of anti-inflammatory effects than Methotrexate. However, differences in clinical response rates and radiologic progression disappear after a few months of treatment and are no longer statistically significant. Serious adverse events are rare in clinical trials and do not occur significantly more often than in the control groups. However, case reports and surveillance registries show an increased risk for serious infectious complications, particularly tuberculosis. Expert panels recommend the use of TNF-α-antagonists in patients with active refractory RA after failure of conventional treatment. Studies that compare Infliximab and Etanercept are lacking.
There are no pharmacoeconomic studies although decision analytic models of TNF-α-antagonists for the treatment of RA exist. Based on the results of the models, a combination therapy with Hydroxychloroquin (HCQ), Sulfaslazin (SASP) and Methotrexate as well as Etanercept/Methotrexate can be considered a cost-effective treatment for Methotrexate-resistant RA.
TNF-α-antagonists are clearly effective in RA patients with no or incomplete response to Methotrexate and superior to continuous use of Methotrexate. It refers to both, reduction of inflammatory disease activity including pain relief and improved functional status, and prevention of structural joint damage. Therefore, TNF-α-antagonism is an important new approach in the treatment of RA. There is still insufficient evidence that early use of TNF-α-antagonists in RA prior to standard agents is beneficial and further studies have to be awaited.
An analytic model suggests that TNF-α-antagonists are, due to their clinical effectiveness in patients with no or incomplete response to Methotrexate, a cost-effective alternative to common therapies chosen in the subpopulations of patients. Nevertheless, it has to be borne in mind that the acquisition costs of TNF-α-antagonists lead to high incremental costs and C/E ratios, which exceed the common frame of assessing the cost-effectiveness of medical methods and technologies. Hence, society's willingness-to-pay is the critical determinant in the question whether TNF-α-antagonists shall be reimbursed or not, or to define criteria for reimbursement. Changes in the quality of life attributable to the use of TNF-α-antagonists in RA have not yet been assessed which might assist the decision making.
With respect of the questions mentioned above and the potential financial effect of a systematic use of TNF-α-antagonists in the treatment of RA, we come to the conclusion that TNF-α-antagonists should not introduced as a standard benefit reimbursed by the statutory health insurers in Germany.
PMCID: PMC3011313  PMID: 21289933
health economics; tumor necrosis factor; TNF-alpha; treatment; rheumatoid arthritis; cost-effectiveness
13.  Adalimumab in Crohn’s disease 
Biologics : Targets & Therapy  2007;1(4):355-365.
Although the advent of infliximab has changed the treatment paradigm and goals in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), it does not provide a cure for IBD and recent evidence has demonstrated that the immunogenicity of this chimeric anti-TNF antibody is associated with secondary loss of response and intolerance. In ulcerative colitis (UC) the efficacy of infliximab was demonstrated in two large clinical trials, but long-term maintenance efficacy data are lacking. Novel biological agents have entered clinical development and pioneering trials have been reported in the last two years. For Crohn’s disease (CD) two anti-TNF agents, the fully human IgG1 anti-TNF monoclonal adalimumab and the humanized pegylated Fab-fragment certolizumab-pegol and the humanized anti α4 integrin IgG4 antibody both have demonstrated efficacy as maintenance agents. Adalimumab has been approved to treat active rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatric arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, and recently moderate-to-severe luminal CD has been added as an indication for this agent both by the FDA and EMEA. Further evidence is needed to establish the therapeutic potential of adalimumab in fistulizing CD and in UC. The benefit to risk ratio of anti-TNF agents in refractory IBD is clearly positive and since most of the toxicity is class specific, adalimumab is expected to have a safety profile similar to that of infliximab except for adverse events related to infusions.
PMCID: PMC2721293  PMID: 19707306
inflammatory bowel diseases; CD; UC; biological treatment; medical treatment; controlled trial
14.  Anti-TNF therapy in Jordan: a focus on severe infections and tuberculosis 
A high rate of infection has been reported in patients receiving treatment with anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF). This study describes the rate of and risk factors for serious infections in patients receiving anti-TNF agents in Jordan.
This retrospective observational study was conducted at a large tertiary referral center in the north of Jordan. Between January 2006 and January 2012, 199 patients who received an anti-TNF agent (infliximab, adalimumab, or etanercept) were included. Patients received the anti-TNF treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease, or other conditions. A serious infection was defined as any bacterial, viral, or fungal infection that required hospitalization, administration of appropriate intravenous antimicrobial therapy, and temporary withholding of anti-TNF treatment.
The mean duration of anti-TNF treatment was 26.2 months. Steroids were used in 29.1% of patients, while 54.8% were given additional immunosuppressant therapy (methotrexate or azathioprine). Only one anti-TNF agent was given in 70.4% of patients, while 29.6% received different anti-TNF agents for the duration of treatment. Serious infections were documented in 39 patients (19.6%), including respiratory tract infections (41%), urinary tract infections (30.8%), and skin infections (20.5%), and extrapulmonary tuberculosis in three patients (7.7%). Exposure to more than one anti-TNF agent was the only factor associated with a significant increase in the rate of infection (relative risk 1.9, 95% confidence interval 1.06–4.0, P=0.03).
Serious infections, including tuberculosis, were a common problem in patients receiving anti-TNF agents, and exposure to more than one anti-TNF agent increased the risk of serious infection.
PMCID: PMC4003144  PMID: 24790412
anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy; biologics; developing world; extra-pulmonary tuberculosis; immune mediated diseases
15.  Adherence and resource use among patients treated with biologic drugs: findings from BEETLE study 
Systemic administration of anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (anti-TNF alpha) leads to an anti-inflammatory and joint protective effect in pathologies such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease. The aim of this study was to assess adherence to therapy, persistence in treatment (no switches or interruptions), and consumption of care resources (drugs, outpatient services, hospitalizations).
We conducted an observational retrospective cohort analysis using the administrative databases of five local health units. Patients filling at least one prescription for anti-TNF alpha between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011 were included and followed up for 1 year. Patients were defined as adherent if >80% of the follow-up period was covered by drugs dispensation.
A total of 1,219 patients were analyzed (mean age 49.6±14.6, male 47%). Among enrolled patients, 36% were affected by rheumatoid arthritis, and 31% and 10% were affected by psoriasis and Crohn’s disease, respectively; other indications remained below these percentages. Thirty-four percent of patients (420) were treated with adalimumab, 51% (615) with etanercept, and 15% (184) with infliximab. Among the 94% of patients who did not switch, those treated with infliximab had a higher rate of adherence across all indications (51% overall) when compared to that observed in patients treated with etanercept (27%) or adalimumab (23%). The mean annual nonpharmacological expenditure for each patient in analysis was €988 for adherent and €1,255 for nonadherent patients. Infliximab was associated with the lowest cost for all indications as determined by the multivariate generalized linear model.
Patients treated with infliximab were associated with higher adherence and persistence in treatment and lower costs, as compared to those treated with adalimumab or etanercept.
PMCID: PMC4171999  PMID: 25258545
anti-TNF alpha; therapy adherence; cost of illness
16.  Genome-Wide Association Study and Gene Expression Analysis Identifies CD84 as a Predictor of Response to Etanercept Therapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003394.
Anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (anti-TNF) biologic therapy is a widely used treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is unknown why some RA patients fail to respond adequately to anti-TNF therapy, which limits the development of clinical biomarkers to predict response or new drugs to target refractory cases. To understand the biological basis of response to anti-TNF therapy, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of more than 2 million common variants in 2,706 RA patients from 13 different collections. Patients were treated with one of three anti-TNF medications: etanercept (n = 733), infliximab (n = 894), or adalimumab (n = 1,071). We identified a SNP (rs6427528) at the 1q23 locus that was associated with change in disease activity score (ΔDAS) in the etanercept subset of patients (P = 8×10−8), but not in the infliximab or adalimumab subsets (P>0.05). The SNP is predicted to disrupt transcription factor binding site motifs in the 3′ UTR of an immune-related gene, CD84, and the allele associated with better response to etanercept was associated with higher CD84 gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (P = 1×10−11 in 228 non-RA patients and P = 0.004 in 132 RA patients). Consistent with the genetic findings, higher CD84 gene expression correlated with lower cross-sectional DAS (P = 0.02, n = 210) and showed a non-significant trend for better ΔDAS in a subset of RA patients with gene expression data (n = 31, etanercept-treated). A small, multi-ethnic replication showed a non-significant trend towards an association among etanercept-treated RA patients of Portuguese ancestry (n = 139, P = 0.4), but no association among patients of Japanese ancestry (n = 151, P = 0.8). Our study demonstrates that an allele associated with response to etanercept therapy is also associated with CD84 gene expression, and further that CD84 expression correlates with disease activity. These findings support a model in which CD84 genotypes and/or expression may serve as a useful biomarker for response to etanercept treatment in RA patients of European ancestry.
Author Summary
There are no genetic predictors of response to one of the most widely used classes of drugs in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis—biological modifiers of the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (or anti-TNF therapy). To identify genetic predictors, we performed the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date as part of an international collaboration. In our study, which included 2,706 RA patients treated with one of three anti-TNF drugs, the most significant finding was restricted to RA patients treated with etanercept (P = 8×10−8), a drug that acts as a soluble receptor to bind circulating cytokine and prevents TNF from binding to its cell surface receptor. The associated variant influences expression of a nearby immune-related gene, CD84, whose expression is correlated with disease activity in RA patients. Together, our data support a model in which genomic factors related to CD84 expression serve as a predictor of disease activity and response to etanercept therapy among RA patients of European ancestry, but not anti-TNF therapies that act through different biological mechanisms or potentially in RA patients of other genetic ancestries.
PMCID: PMC3610685  PMID: 23555300
17.  Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) drugs for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis: an indirect comparison meta-analysis 
To evaluate the comparative effectiveness of available tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors (anti-TNFs) for the management of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in patients with an inadequate response to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
We used an exhaustive search strategy covering randomized clinical trials, systematic reviews and health technology assessments (HTA) published on anti-TNFs for PsA. We performed indirect comparisons of the available anti-TNFs (adalimumab, etanercept, golimumab, and infliximab) measuring relative risks (RR) for the psoriatic arthritis response criteria (PsARC), mean differences (MDs) for improvements from baseline for the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) by PsARC responders and non-responders, and MD for the improvements from baseline for the psoriasis area and severity index (PASI). When the reporting of data on intervention group response rates and improvements were incomplete, we used straightforward conversions based on the available data.
We retrieved data from 20 publications representing seven trials, as well as two HTAs. All anti-TNFs were significantly better than control, but the indirect comparison did not reveal any statistically significant difference between the anti-TNFs. For PsARC response, golimumab yielded the highest RR and etanercept the second highest; adalimumab and infliximab both yielded notably smaller RRs. For HAQ improvement, etanercept and infliximab yielded the largest MD among PsARC responders. For PsARC nonresponders, etanercept, infliximab, and golimumab yielded similar MDs, and adalimumab a notably lower MD. For PASI improvement, infliximab yielded the largest MD and golimumab the second largest, while etanercept yielded the smallest MD. In some instances, the estimated magnitudes of effect were notably different from the estimates of previous HTA indirect comparisons.
There is insufficient statistical evidence to demonstrate differences in effectiveness between available anti-TNFs for PsA. Effect estimates seem sensitive to the analytic approach, and this uncertainty should be taken into account in future economic evaluations.
PMCID: PMC3526864  PMID: 23271892
anti-tumour necrosis factor drugs; biologic DMARDs; indirect comparison metaanalysis; psoriatic arthritis; health assessment questionnaire; psoriatic arthritis response criteria; psoriasis area and severity index
18.  Risk of tuberculosis is higher with anti-tumor necrosis factor monoclonal antibody therapy than with soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor therapy: The three-year prospective French Research Axed on Tolerance of Biotherapies registry 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2009;60(7):1884-1894.
Tuberculosis (TB) is associated with anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) therapy but whether it is drug-specific remains a concern. Our objective was to describe cases of tuberculosis associated with anti-TNF therapy, identify risk factors and estimate the incidence.
An incidence study with the French population as reference and a case-control analysis. We collected, for 3 years, cases of TB among French patients receiving anti-TNF therapy, whatever the indication, with two controls treated with anti-TNF agents per case.
We collected 69 cases of TB in patients treated for rheumatoid arthritis (n=40), spondylarthropathies (n=18), inflammatory colitis (n=9), psoriasis (n=1) and Behçet’s disease (n=1) treated with infliximab (n=36), adalimumab (n=28) and etanercept (n=5). None of the cases had received correct chemoprophylaxis treatment. The sex and age-adjusted incidence rate of TB was 116.7 per 100,000 patient-years. The SIR was 12.2 (95% confidence interval 9.7–15.5) and was higher for therapy with infliximab and adalimumab than for that with etanercept: 18.6 (13.4–25.8) and 29.3 (20.2–42.4) versus 1.8 (0.7–4.3), respectively. In the case-control analysis, the exposure to infliximab or adalimumab versus etanercept was an independent risk factor for TB: odds ratio=13.3 (2.6–69.0) and 17.1 (3.6–80.6), respectively. Other risk factors were age, the first year of anti-TNF treatment, and being born in an endemic area.
The risk of TB is higher for patients receiving monoclonal-antibody than soluble-receptor anti-TNF therapy. The increased risk with early anti-TNF treatment and the absence of correct chemoprophylaxis treatment favours the reactivation of latent TB.
PMCID: PMC2921546  PMID: 19565495
Adult; Aged; Antibodies, Monoclonal; adverse effects; therapeutic use; Arthritis, Rheumatoid; drug therapy; Behcet Syndrome; drug therapy; Case-Control Studies; Colitis; drug therapy; Female; France; Humans; Immunoglobulin G; adverse effects; therapeutic use; Male; Middle Aged; Prospective Studies; Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor; therapeutic use; Registries; Risk Factors; Spondylarthritis; drug therapy; Treatment Outcome; Tuberculosis; chemically induced; drug therapy; epidemiology; Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha; immunology; anti-TNF-alpha; tuberculosis; safety; rheumatoid arthritis; inflammatory chronic diseases
19.  Retrospective cohort study of anti-tumor necrosis factor agent use in a veteran population 
PeerJ  2014;2:e385.
Introduction. Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) agents are effective for several immunologic conditions (rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Crohn’s disease (CD), and psoriasis). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of anti-TNF agents via chart review.
Methods. Single-site, retrospective cohort study that evaluated the efficacy and safety of anti-TNF agents in veterans initiated between 2010 and 2011. Primary aim evaluated response at 12 months post-index date. Secondary aims evaluated initial response prior to 12 months post-index date and infection events.
Results. A majority of patients were prescribed anti-TNF agents for CD (27%) and RA (24%). Patients were initiated on etanercept (41%), adalimumab (40%), and infliximab (18%) between 2010 and 2011. No differences in patient demographics were reported. Response rates were high overall. Sixty-five percent of etanercept patients, 82% of adalimumab patients, and 59% of infliximab patients were either partial or full responders, respectively. Approximately 16%, 11%, and 12% of etanercept, adalimumab, and infliximab were non-responders, respectively. Infections between the groups were non-significant. Etanercept and adalimumab patients had higher but non-significant odds of being a responder relative to infliximab.
Conclusions. Most patients initiated with anti-TNF agent were responders at 12 months follow-up for all indications in a veteran population.
PMCID: PMC4034612  PMID: 24883246
Tumor necrosis factor; Etanercept; Adalimumab; Certolizumab; Formulary management; Cohort study; Rheumatoid arthritis; Crohn’s disease; Infliximab; Veterans
20.  Evidence for differential acquired drug resistance to anti‐tumour necrosis factor agents in rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;65(6):746-752.
Acquired drug resistance or gradual drug failure has been described with most disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and is also starting to be recognised with anti‐tumour necrosis factor (anti‐TNF) agents.
To study acquired drug resistance to anti‐TNF agents in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Swiss health authorities requested continuous monitoring of patients receiving biological agents. Intensification of co‐therapy with traditional DMARDs, gradual dose escalation, and drug discontinuation rates in all patients receiving infliximab, etanercept, or adalimumab, adjusting for potential confounders, were analysed. Intensification of DMARD co‐therapy and time to discontinuation of the three anti‐TNF agents were analysed using a proportional hazards models. Dose escalation and evolution of RA disease activity (DAS28) were analysed using a longitudinal regression model.
1198 patients contributing 1450 patient‐years of anti‐TNF treatment met the inclusion criteria. The rate of intensification of traditional DMARD co‐therapy over time was significantly higher with infliximab (hazards ratio = 1.73 (99% confidence interval (CI) 1.19 to 2.51)) than with the two other agents. Infliximab also showed significant dose escalation over time, with an average dose increase of +12% (99% CI 8% to 16%) after 1 year, and +18% (99% CI 11% to 25%) after 2 years. No significant differences in discontinuation rates were seen between the three anti‐TNF agents (ANOVA, p = 0.67). Evolution of disease activity over time indicated a lower therapeutic response to infliximab (DAS28, p<0.001) compared with etanercept, after 6 months' treatment.
In this population, infliximab was associated with a higher risk of requiring intensification of DMARD co‐therapy than the other anti‐TNF agents and a significant dose escalation over time. Analysis of RA disease activity indicated a reduced therapeutic response to infliximab after the first 6 months of treatment, suggestive of acquired drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC1798167  PMID: 16339288
rheumatoid arthritis; antirheumatic therapy; anti‐tumour necrosis factor agents; drug resistance
21.  Therapy of ankylosing spondylitis and other spondyloarthritides: established medical treatment, anti-TNF-α therapy and other novel approaches 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(5):307-321.
Therapeutic options for patients with more severe forms of spondyloarthritis (SpA) have been rather limited in recent decades. There is accumulating evidence that anti-tumor-necrosis-factor (anti-TNF) therapy is highly effective in SpA, especially in ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. The major anti-TNF-α agents currently available, infliximab (Remicade®) and etanercept (Enbrel®), are approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in many countries. In ankylosing spondylitis there is an unmet medical need, since there are almost no disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) available for severely affected patients, especially those with spinal manifestations. Judging from recent data from more than 300 patients with SpA, anti-TNF therapy seems to be even more effective in SpA than in rheumatoid arthritis. However, it remains to be shown whether patients benefit from long-term treatment, whether radiological progression and ankylosis can be stopped and whether long-term biologic therapy is safe.
PMCID: PMC128942  PMID: 12223105
ankylosing spondylitis; anti-TNF-α therapy; conventional and innovative treatment; psoriatic arthritis
22.  Psoriatic arthritis treatment: biological response modifiers 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;64(Suppl 2):ii78-ii82.
In recent years there has been a surge of interest in the treatment of chronic inflammatory disorders as a result of the development and application of targeted biological therapies. The elucidation of the overlapping cellular and cytokine immunopathology of such diverse conditions as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Crohn's disease, and psoriasis points to specific targets for bioengineered proteins or small molecules.
Similar to clinical trials in RA, trials in psoriatic arthritis (PsA) have shown excellent clinical results with the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, etanercept, infliximab, and adalimumab in a variety of domains including the joints, quality of life, function, and slowing of disease progress as evidenced radiologically. In addition, these agents have shown benefit in domains more unique to PsA, such as the skin lesions of psoriasis, enthesitis, and dactylitis, pointing out the similar pathogenesis of the disease in the skin, the tendons, and the synovial membrane. This therapy has been generally safe and well tolerated in clinical trials of PsA.
Other logical candidates for targeted therapy in development include other anti-TNF agents, costimulatory blockade agents that affect T cell function, blockers of other cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1, 6, 12, 15, or 18, and B cell modulatory medicines. Also, it will be useful to learn more about the effects of combining traditional disease modifying drugs and the newer biologicals.
PMCID: PMC1766864  PMID: 15708944
23.  Association between the initiation of anti-TNF therapy and the risk of herpes zoster 
Herpes zoster (HZ) reactivation disproportionately affects patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is unclear whether anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapy elevates HZ risk, and whether monoclonal antibodies carry greater risk than etanercept.
To ascertain whether initiation of anti-TNF therapy compared with non-biologic comparators is associated with increased HZ risk
Design, Setting, and Patients
We identified new users of anti-TNF therapy among cohorts of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and psoriasis-psoriatic arthritis-ankylosing spondylitis (PsO-PsA-AS) patients during 1998–2007 within a large US multi-institutional collaboration combining data from Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly, Tennessee Medicaid, and national Medicaid/Medicare programs. We compared HZ incidence between new anti-TNF users and patients initiating non-biologic disease modifying drugs (DMARDs) within each inflammatory disease cohort (last participant follow-up Dec 31, 2007). Within these cohorts, we used Cox regression models to compare propensity-score adjusted HZ incidence between new anti-TNF and non-biologic DMARD users while controlling for baseline corticosteroid use.
Main Outcome Measure
Incidence of herpes zoster cases occurring after initiation of new anti- TNF or non-biologic DMARD therapy
Among 32,208 new users of anti-TNF therapy, we identified 310 HZ cases. Crude incidence rates among anti-TNF users for RA, IBD, and PsO-PsA-AS were 12.1/1000 pt-yrs, (95% CI 10.7–13.6), 11.3/1000 (95% CI 7.7–16.7), and 4.4/1000 (95% CI 2.8–7.0) respectively. Baseline use of corticosteroids of > 10mg/day was associated with elevated risk [adjusted HR 2.13 (1.64, 2.75) compared with no baseline use. For RA patients, adjusted incidence rates were similar between anti-TNF and nonbiologic DMARD initiators [adjusted HR 1.00 (95% CI 0.77–1.29) and comparable between all three anti-TNF therapies studied.
Conclusions and Relevance
Among patients with RA and other select inflammatory diseases, those who initiated anti-TNF therapies were not at higher risk for HZ compared to patients who initiated non-biologic treatment regimens.
PMCID: PMC3773213  PMID: 23462785
shingles; zoster; herpes; biologic therapy; tumor necrosis factor-alpha; rheumatoid arthritis; adverse events; psoriasis
24.  Effectiveness and safety of adalimumab in patients with ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis and history of anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(3):R117.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists reduce the signs and symptoms of spondyloarthritides, including ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of adalimumab, 40 mg every other week, for patients with AS or PsA and prior treatment with infliximab (IFX) and/or etanercept (ETN).
Both trials were 12-week, open-label studies with an optional extension period up to week 20. Patients were stratified by history of anti-TNF treatment, prior anti-TNF therapy received (IFX, ETN, or both), and reason for discontinuation of prior TNF antagonist. ETN was discontinued ≥ 3 weeks, and IFX was discontinued ≥ 2 months before the first adalimumab administration. Effectiveness at week 12 was evaluated by using observed standard-outcome measurements for AS and PsA.
At week 12 of adalimumab treatment, Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index 50 responses were achieved by 40.8% of 326 patients with AS who had received prior anti-TNF therapy and by 63.0% of 924 patients with AS who were naive to TNF antagonist. Observed response rates were generally greater for patients who discontinued the prior anti-TNF therapy because of loss of response or intolerance than for patients who discontinued because of lack of response. Median changes in swollen-joint count and in enthesitis score were similar in patients with and without prior TNF-antagonist treatment. Modified PsA response criteria were fulfilled by 71.2% of 66 patients with PsA, with prior exposure to TNF antagonists, and by 78.8% of 376 patients with no history of anti-TNF therapy. The percentages of patients with PsA attaining a Physician's Global Assessment of psoriasis of "Clear/Almost clear" increased from 33.3% to 61.0% for patients with prior IFX and/or ETN treatment and from 34.6% to 69.7% for patients without anti-TNF therapy. The median change in the Nail Psoriasis Severity Index was -6 for both groups. In both studies, patterns of adverse events were similar for patients with and without prior anti-TNF therapy and were consistent with the known safety profile of adalimumab.
Patients with AS or PsA previously treated with IFX and/or ETN experienced clinically relevant improvements of their diseases after 12 weeks of adalimumab.
Trial registrations NCT00478660 and NCT00235885.
PMCID: PMC2911911  PMID: 20553600
25.  Advances in rheumatology: new targeted therapeutics 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(Suppl 1):S5.
Treatment of inflammatory arthritides - including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis - has seen much progress in recent years, partially due to increased understanding of the pathogenesis of these diseases at the cellular and molecular levels. These conditions share some common mechanisms. Biologic therapies have provided a clear advance in the treatment of rheumatological conditions. Currently available TNF-targeting biologic agents that are licensed for at east one of the above-named diseases are etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab, golimumab, and certolizumab. Biologic agents with a different mechanism of action have also been approved in rheumatoid arthritis (rituximab, abatacept, and tocilizumab). Although these biologic agents are highly effective, there is a need for improved management strategies. There is also a need for education of family physicians and other healthcare professionals in the identification of early symptoms of inflammatory arthritides and the importance of early referral to rheumatologists for diagnosis and treatment. Also, researchers are developing molecules - for example, the Janus kinase inhibitor CP-690550 (tofacitinib) and the spleen tyrosine kinase inhibitor R788 (fostamatinib) - to target other aspects of the inflammatory cascade. Initial trial results with new agents are promising, and, in time, head-to-head trials will establish the best treatment options for patients. The key challenge is identifying how best to integrate these new, advanced therapies into daily practice.
PMCID: PMC3123966  PMID: 21624184

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