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1.  Systematic review and network meta-analysis of combination and monotherapy treatments in disease-modifying antirheumatic drug-experienced patients with rheumatoid arthritis: analysis of American College of Rheumatology criteria scores 20, 50, and 70 
Background
Biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) extend the treatment choices for rheumatoid arthritis patients with suboptimal response or intolerance to conventional DMARDs. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to compare the relative efficacy of EU-licensed bDMARD combination therapy or monotherapy for patients intolerant of or contraindicated to continued methotrexate.
Methods
Comprehensive, structured literature searches were conducted in Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Library, as well as hand-searching of conference proceedings and reference lists. Phase II or III randomized controlled trials reporting American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria scores of 20, 50, and 70 between 12 and 30 weeks’ follow-up and enrolling adult patients meeting ACR classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis previously treated with and with an inadequate response to conventional DMARDs were eligible. To estimate the relative efficacy of treatments whilst preserving the randomized comparisons within each trial, a Bayesian network meta-analysis was conducted in WinBUGS using fixed and random-effects, logit-link models fitted to the binomial ACR 20/50/70 trial data.
Results
The systematic review identified 10,625 citations, and after a review of 2450 full-text papers, there were 29 and 14 eligible studies for the combination and monotherapy meta-analyses, respectively. In the combination analysis, all licensed bDMARD combinations had significantly higher odds of ACR 20/50/70 compared to DMARDs alone, except for the rituximab comparison, which did not reach significance for the ACR 70 outcome (based on the 95% credible interval). The etanercept combination was significantly better than the tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors adalimumab and infliximab in improving ACR 20/50/70 outcomes, with no significant differences between the etanercept combination and certolizumab pegol or tocilizumab. Licensed-dose etanercept, adalimumab, and tocilizumab monotherapy were significantly better than placebo in improving ACR 20/50/70 outcomes. Sensitivity analysis indicated that including studies outside the target population could affect the results.
Conclusion
Licensed bDMARDs are efficacious in patients with an inadequate response to conventional therapy, but tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor combination therapies are not equally effective.
doi:10.2147/BTT.S36707
PMCID: PMC3529627  PMID: 23269860
bDMARD; rheumatoid arthritis; etanercept; systematic review; network metaanalysis; comparative effectiveness
2.  EULAR recommendations for the management of rheumatoid arthritis with synthetic and biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs: 2013 update 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2013;73(3):492-509.
In this article, the 2010 European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) recommendations for the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with synthetic and biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (sDMARDs and bDMARDs, respectively) have been updated. The 2013 update has been developed by an international task force, which based its decisions mostly on evidence from three systematic literature reviews (one each on sDMARDs, including glucocorticoids, bDMARDs and safety aspects of DMARD therapy); treatment strategies were also covered by the searches. The evidence presented was discussed and summarised by the experts in the course of a consensus finding and voting process. Levels of evidence and grades of recommendations were derived and levels of agreement (strengths of recommendations) were determined. Fourteen recommendations were developed (instead of 15 in 2010). Some of the 2010 recommendations were deleted, and others were amended or split. The recommendations cover general aspects, such as attainment of remission or low disease activity using a treat-to-target approach, and the need for shared decision-making between rheumatologists and patients. The more specific items relate to starting DMARD therapy using a conventional sDMARD (csDMARD) strategy in combination with glucocorticoids, followed by the addition of a bDMARD or another csDMARD strategy (after stratification by presence or absence of adverse risk factors) if the treatment target is not reached within 6 months (or improvement not seen at 3 months). Tumour necrosis factor inhibitors (adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab, biosimilars), abatacept, tocilizumab and, under certain circumstances, rituximab are essentially considered to have similar efficacy and safety. If the first bDMARD strategy fails, any other bDMARD may be used. The recommendations also address tofacitinib as a targeted sDMARD (tsDMARD), which is recommended, where licensed, after use of at least one bDMARD. Biosimilars are also addressed. These recommendations are intended to inform rheumatologists, patients, national rheumatology societies and other stakeholders about EULAR's most recent consensus on the management of RA with sDMARDs, glucocorticoids and bDMARDs. They are based on evidence and expert opinion and intended to improve outcome in patients with RA.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204573
PMCID: PMC3933074  PMID: 24161836
Rheumatoid Arthritis; DMARDs (synthetic); DMARDs (biologic); Treatment; Early Rheumatoid Arthritis
3.  Comparative efficacy of biologics as monotherapy and in combination with methotrexate on patient reported outcomes (PROs) in rheumatoid arthritis patients with an inadequate response to conventional DMARDs – a systematic review and network meta-analysis 
Objective
To compare biologics as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate (MTX) in terms of patient reported outcomes (PROs) in RA patients with an inadequate response to conventional DMARDs (DMARD-IR).
Methods
With a systematic literature review 17 RCTs were identified that evaluated adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab, abatacept, anakinra or tocilizumab. Treatment effects in terms of pain (0-100 mm), patient’s global assessment of disease activity (PGA; 0-100 mm), Health Assessment-Questionnaire (HAQ) disability index (DI; 0–3), and the physical component summary (PCS) of the SF36 Health Survey (0–100) at 24 weeks were combined by means of Bayesian network meta-analyses.
Results
With tocilizumab monotherapy, greater improvements in pain (difference = -11.1; (95% Credible Interval -21.3, -0.1)) and PGA (-10.3 (-20.4, 0.8)) were observed than with aTNF monotherapy. Tocilizumab was at least as efficacious as aTNF in HAQ-DI improvements (-0.16; (-0.37, 0.05)). aTNF + MTX (-17.9 (-23.1, -13.0) & -19.1 (-24.2, -14.4)), abatacept + MTX (-23.0 (-47.3, 1. 5) & -13.6 (-28.4, 2.0)) and tocilizumab + MTX (-16.0 (-26.3, -6.3) & -15.1 (-25.1, -5.7)) showed comparable reductions in pain and PGA relative to MTX. Efficacy of anakinra + MTX was much smaller as compared to other biologics. The greatest improvements in HAQ-DI relative to MTX were observed with aTNF + MTX (-0.30 (-0.37, -0.22)) and tocilizumab + MTX (-0.27 (-0.42, -0.12)), followed by abatacept + MTX (-0.21 (-0.37, -0.05)) and anakinra + MTX (-0.11 (-0.26, 0.05)). The improvements in SF36-PCS with abatacept + MTX, aTNF + MTX and tocilizumab + MTX were comparable. There is a >90% probability that aTNF + MTX results in a greater improvement in pain (-12.4), PGA (-16.1) and HAQ-DI (-0.21) than aTNF as monotherapy. Efficacy of tocilizumab + MTX showed comparable improvements in PROs as tocilizumab monotherapy.
Conclusions
Based on a network meta-analysis involving indirect comparison of trial findings, the following observations were made for DMARD-IR patients. In monotherapy, tocilizumab was associated with a greater improvement in pain and self-reported disease activity than aTNF, and was at least as efficacious regarding functional ability. The improvements in PROs with aTNF, abatacept and tocilizumab in combination with MTX were comparable. Improvements in PROs with tocilizumab as monotherapy were similar to that of tocilizumab + MTX, whereas aTNF as monotherapy was likely to be less efficacious than aTNF + MTX.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-12-102
PMCID: PMC4101713  PMID: 24988902
Rheumatoid arthritis; Biologics; Patient reported outcomes; Network meta-analysis; Indirect comparison
4.  Rheumatoid arthritis 
Clinical Evidence  2007;2007:1124.
Introduction
Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts as a symmetrical polyarthritis, and its course is marked by flares and remissions. The aims of treatment are to relieve pain and swelling, and to improve function. In addition, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may reduce disease progression.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of drug treatments in people with rheumatoid arthritis who have not previously received any disease-modifying antirheumatic drug treatment? How do different drug treatments compare in people with rheumatoid arthritis who have either not responded to or are intolerant of first-line disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to June 2005 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 62 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: adalimumab, anakinra, antimalarial drugs, azathioprine, ciclosporin, corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, etanercept, infliximab plus methotrexate, leflunomide, methotrexate (alone; or plus sulfasalazine plus hydroxychloroquine), oral gold, parenteral gold, penicillamine, sulfasalazine.
Key Points
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that mainly affects the peripheral joints and surrounding tissue. It usually starts as a symmetrical polyarthritis, and its course is marked by flares and remissions.The aims of treatment are to relieve pain and swelling, and to improve function. In addition, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may reduce disease progression.
The DMARD methotrexate is widely used as first-line treatment in people with rheumatoid arthritis because of consensus about its effectiveness in practice. Sulfasalazine and combined treatment with methotrexate and sulfasalazine are as effective as methotrexate in improving pain, joint swelling, and function in people with early rheumatoid arthritis who have not previously received DMARDs. Antimalarials may improve symptoms and function in DMARD-naïve people, and are reasonably well tolerated, but radiological evidence of erosion is more marked with antimalarials than with sulfasalazine.
There is a variety of DMARDs available for second-line treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and we found no clear evidence that one is superior. Methotrexate, sulfasalazine, penicillamine , and leflunomide cause similar improvements in symptoms and function when given to people as second-line DMARD treatment, although methotrexate causes fewer adverse effects.The combination of methotrexate plus sulfasalazine plus hydroxychloroquine is more effective in reducing measures of disease activity in people receiving second-line treatment than any of the drugs used alone. Adding the cytokine inhibitors infliximab or etanercept to methotrexate is more effective than using methotrexate alone.Although antimalarials and oral gold seem to improve clinical disease activity when given as second-line treatment, they are not as effective as methotrexate or sulfasalazine. Although parenteral gold is more effective than oral gold, it leads to higher levels of toxicity than most of the other commonly used DMARDs. Ciclosporin offers short-term control of rheumatoid arthritis when used as second-line treatment, but is associated with nephrotoxicity.We don′t know whether cyclophosphamide is as effective as other DMARDs for second-line treatment.Cytokine inhibitors may offer an alternative to traditional DMARDs for second line treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, but more research is needed. Etanercept may be as effective as methotrexate in improving symptoms, function, and radiological evidence of progression, but more evidence for its effect is needed Azathioprine is less effective and is less well tolerated than methotrexate.We don't know whether anakinra or adalimumab are as effective as other DMARDs for second-line treatment.Although widely used for the initial short-term relief of clinical disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis, we don't know how corticosteroids compare with other drugs for first or second-line treatment.
PMCID: PMC2943775  PMID: 19454108
5.  Effect of Combination Therapy on Joint Destruction in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Network Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106408.
Background
Despite significant cost differences, the comparative effect of combination treatments of disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) with and without biologic agents has rarely been examined. Thus we performed a network meta-analysis on the effect of combination therapies on progression of radiographic joint erosions in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods and Findings
The following combination drug therapies compared versus single DMARD were investigated: Double DMARD: 2 DMARDs (methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide, injectable gold, cyclosporine, chloroquine, azathioprin, penicillamin) or 1 DMARD plus low dose glucocorticoid (LDGC); triple DMARD: 3 DMARDs or 2 DMARDs plus LDGC; biologic combination: 1 DMARD plus biologic agent (tumor necrosis factor α inhibitor (TNFi) or abatacept or tocilizumab or CD20 inhibitor (CD20i)). Randomized controlled trials were identified in a search of electronic archives of biomedical literature and included in a star-shaped network meta-analysis and reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement protocol. Effects are reported as standardized mean differences (SMD). The effects of data from 39 trials published in the period 1989–2012 were as follows: Double DMARD: −0.32 SMD (CI: −0.42, −0.22); triple DMARD: −0.46 SMD (CI: −0.60, −0.31); 1 DMARD plus TNFi: −0.30 SMD (CI: −0.36, −0.25); 1 DMARD plus abatacept: −0.20 SMD (CI: −0.33, −0.07); 1 DMARD plus tocilizumab: −0.34 SMD (CI: −0.48, −0.20); 1 DMARD plus CD20i: −0.32 SMD (CI: −0.40, −0.24). The indirect comparisons showed similar effects between combination treatments apart from triple DMARD being significantly better than abatacept plus methotrexate (−0.26 SMD (CI: −0.45, −0.07)) and TNFi plus methotrexate (−0.16 SMD (CI: −0.31, −0.01)).
Conclusion
Combination treatment of a biologic agent with 1 DMARD is not superior to 2–3 DMARDs including or excluding LDGC in preventing structural joint damage. Future randomized studies of biologic agents should be compared versus a combination of DMARDs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106408
PMCID: PMC4171366  PMID: 25244021
6.  Abatacept with methotrexate versus other biologic agents in treatment of patients with active rheumatoid arthritis despite methotrexate: a network meta-analysis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(6):R204.
Introduction
The goal of this study was to compare the efficacy in terms of Health Assessment Questionnaire change from baseline (HAQ CFB), 50% improvement in American College of Rheumatology criterion (ACR-50) and Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) defined remission (< 2.6) between abatacept and other biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have inadequate response to methotrexate (MTX-IR).
Methods
A systematic literature review identified controlled trials investigating the efficacy of abatacept (three studies), etanercept (two studies), infliximab (two), adalimumab (two), certolizumab pegol (two) ritixumab (three), and tocilizumab (two) in MTX-IR patients with RA. The clinical trials included in this analysis were similar with respect to trial design, baseline patient characteristics and background therapy (MTX). The key clinical endpoints of interest were HAQ CFB, ACR-50 and DAS28 < 2.6 measured at 24 and 52 weeks. The results were analysed using network meta-analysis methods that enabled calculation of an estimate for expected relative effect of comparative treatments. Analysis results were expressed as the difference in HAQ CFB score and odds ratio (OR) of achieving an ACR-50 and DAS28 response and associated 95% credible intervals (CrI).
Results
The analysis of HAQ CFB at 24 weeks and 52 weeks showed that abatacept in combination with MTX is expected to be more efficacious than MTX monotherapy and is expected to show a comparable efficacy relative to other biologic DMARDs in combination with MTX. Further, abatacept showed comparable ACR-50 and DAS28 < 2.6 response rates with other biologic DMARDs at 24 and 52 weeks, except for ACR-50 compared to certolizumab pegol at 52 weeks and for DAS28 < 2.6 compared to tocilizumab at 24 weeks. Sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the findings.
Conclusions
Abatacept in combination with MTX is expected to result in a comparable change from baseline in HAQ score and comparable ACR-50 and DAS28 < 2.6 response rates in MTX-IR patients compared to other approved biologic agents.
doi:10.1186/ar3537
PMCID: PMC3334657  PMID: 22151924
abatacept; rheumatoid arthritis; biologic DMARDs; network meta-analysis; health assessment questionnaire
7.  Efficacy and safety of infliximab-biosimilar compared to other biological drugs in rheumatoid arthritis: a mixed treatment comparison 
Objective
The aim of this meta-analysis was to compare the efficacy and safety of infliximab-biosimilar and other available biologicals for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), namely abatacept, adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab, rituximab and tocilizumab.
Methods
A systematic literature review of MEDLINE database until August 2013 was carried out to identify relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Bayesian mixed treatment comparison method was applied for the pairwise comparison of treatments. Improvement rates by the American College of Rheumatology criteria (ACR20 and ACR50) at week 24 were used as efficacy endpoints, and the occurrence of serious adverse events was considered to assess the safety of the biologicals.
Results
Thirty-six RCTs were included in the meta-analysis. All the biological agents proved to be superior to placebo. For ACR20 response, certolizumab pegol showed the highest odds ratio (OR) compared to placebo, OR 7.69 [95 % CI 3.69–14.26], followed by abatacept OR 3.7 [95 % CI 2.17–6.06], tocilizumab OR 3.69 [95 % CI 1.87–6.62] and infliximab-biosimilar OR 3.47 [95 % CI 0.85–9.7]. For ACR50 response, certolizumab pegol showed the highest OR compared to placebo OR 8.46 [3.74–16.82], followed by tocilizumab OR 5.57 [95 % CI 2.77–10.09], and infliximab-biosimilar OR 4.06 [95 % CI 1.01–11.54]. Regarding the occurrence of serious adverse events, the results show no statistically significant difference between infliximab-biosimilar and placebo, OR 1.87 [95 % CI 0.74–3.84]. No significant difference regarding efficacy and safety was found between infliximab-biosimilar and the other biological treatments.
Conclusion
This is the first indirect meta-analysis in RA that compares the efficacy and safety of biosimilar-infliximab to the other biologicals indicated in RA. We found no significant difference between infliximab-biosimilar and other biological agents in terms of clinical efficacy and safety.
doi:10.1007/s10198-014-0594-4
PMCID: PMC4046078  PMID: 24832836
Arthritis; Rheumatoid; Biosimilar pharmaceuticals; Meta-analysis; Mixed treatment comparison; I10; I19
8.  Biological drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by the subcutaneous route: interpreting efficacy data to assess statistical equivalence 
Background:
No equivalence analysis has yet been conducted on the effectiveness of biologics in rheumatoid arthritis. Equivalence testing has a specific scientific interest, but can also be useful for deciding whether acquisition tenders are feasible for the pharmacological agents being compared.
Methods:
Our search covered the literature up to August 2014. Our methodology was a combination of standard pairwise meta-analysis, Bayesian network meta-analysis and equivalence testing. The agents examined for their potential equivalence were etanercept, adalimumab, golimumab, certolizumab, and tocilizumab, each in combination with methotrexate (MTX). The reference treatment was MTX monotherapy. The endpoint was ACR50 achievement at 12 months. Odds ratio was the outcome measure. The equivalence margins were established by analyzing the statistical power data of the trials.
Results:
Our search identified seven randomized controlled trials (2846 patients). No study was retrieved for tocilizumab, and so only four biologics were evaluable. The equivalence range was set at odds ratio from 0.56 to 1.78. There were 10 head-to-head comparisons (4 direct, 6 indirect). Bayesian network meta-analysis estimated the odds ratio (with 90% credible intervals) for each of these comparisons. Between-trial heterogeneity was marked. According to our results, all credible intervals of the 10 comparisons were wide and none of them satisfied the equivalence criterion. A superiority finding was confirmed for the treatment with MTX plus adalimumab or certolizumab in comparison with MTX monotherapy, but not for the other two biologics.
Conclusion:
Our results indicate that these four biologics improved the rates of ACR50 achievement, but there was an evident between-study heterogeneity. The head-to-head indirect comparisons between individual biologics showed no significant difference, but failed to demonstrate the proof of no difference (i.e. equivalence). This body of evidence presently precludes any option of undertaking competitive tenderings for the procurement of these agents.
doi:10.1177/1759720X14554792
PMCID: PMC4239151  PMID: 25435923
adalimumab; biologics; certolizumab; equivalence; etanercept; golimumab; meta-analysis; rheumatoid arthritis; tocilizumab
9.  Monoclonal antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis: comparative effectiveness of tocilizumab with tumor necrosis factor inhibitors 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by persistent joint inflammation, systemic inflammation, and immunological abnormalities. Because cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-6 play a major role in the development of RA, their targeting could constitute a reasonable novel therapeutic strategy for treating RA. Indeed, worldwide clinical trials of TNF inhibiting biologic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) including infliximab, adalimumab, golimumab, certolizumab pegol, and etanercept as well as the humanized anti-human IL-6 receptor antibody, tocilizumab, have demonstrated outstanding clinical efficacy and tolerable safety profiles, resulting in worldwide approval for using these bDMARDs to treat moderate to severe active RA in patients with an inadequate response to synthetic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (sDMARDs). Although bDMARDs have elicited to a paradigm shift in the treatment of RA due to the prominent efficacy that had not been previously achieved by sDMARDs, a substantial percentage of patients failed primary or secondary responses to bDMARD therapy. Because RA is a heterogeneous disease in which TNF-α and IL-6 play overlapping but distinct pathological roles, further studies are required to determine the best use of TNF inhibitors and tocilizumab in individual RA patients.
doi:10.2147/BTT.S37509
PMCID: PMC3984066  PMID: 24741293
interleukin-6; rheumatoid arthritis; adalimumab; biologic
10.  Description of the Efficacy and Safety of Three New Biologics in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis 
English articles on abatacept, golimumab, and tocilizumab in rheumatoid arthritis published between 2002 and 2009 were reviewed systematically. All randomized clinical trials, open-label extensions, meta-analyses, and reviews were examined. There were thirteen articles on abatacept, four on golimumab, and seven on tocilizumab. All three drugs were effective in methotrexate-naïve, methotrexate-incomplete responders, and tumor-necrosis-factor-failure rheumatoid arthritis patients. Of the three, only abatacept has been tested in a head-to-head trial with infliximab, in which it was found to be equivalent to infliximab. Golimumab resulted in a more modest improvement than the others in methotrexate-naïve patients, although no direct comparisons among the three drugs were possible or appropriate. Descriptive analysis of adverse events showed that patients receiving abatacept, golimumab, and tocilizumab were subject to more adverse events than controls overall, as expected. In the abatacept studies, a few cases of tuberculosis, more cardiovascular events and gastrointestinal bleedings and more basal cell carcinoma were seen. Golimumab was associated with more skin rashes and pneumonia, while tocilizumab was associated with increased lipids, more liver-function abnormalities, and neutropenia. These new medications are useful additions to the rheumatologic armamentarium and represent greater convenience (golimumab) or different mechanisms of action (abatacept and tocilizumab) than tumor-necrosis-factor inhibitors for treating rheumatoid arthritis. As expected, some adverse events occur when using these drugs and patients need to be watched carefully.
doi:10.3904/kjim.2010.25.1.1
PMCID: PMC2829405  PMID: 20195397
Arthritis, rheumatoid; Biological products; Abatacept; Golimumab; Tocilizumab
11.  Changes in Use of Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis in the U.S. for the period 1983–2009 
Arthritis care & research  2013;65(9):1529-1533.
Objective
Use of non-biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (nbDMARD) and/or biologic DMARDs (bDMARD) is generally recommended to improve the prognosis of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The objective of this study was to describe the changing trends in DMARD use for RA over the past two decades.
Methods
We analyzed data from an open longitudinal cohort of RA patients recruited from rheumatologists’ practices in Northern California. We examined baseline demographic and clinical characteristics of the participants and their long DMARD use through annual comprehensive structured telephone interviews.
Results
A total of 1,507 established RA patients were recruited through 5 enrollment periods between 1983 and 2009. Between 1983 and 2009, the use of any DMARD increased from 71% of all patients to 83% (p for trend <0.0001). In 2009, 43% received a bDMARD, 34% were on both nbDMARD and bDMARD, and 40% were treated with only nbDMARDs. The four most commonly used nbDMARDs in 2009 were methotrexate (49%), hydroxychloroquine (30%), leflunomide (13%) and sulfasalazine (7%). Etanercept (20%) was the most commonly used bDMARD in 2009, followed by infliximab (10%), adalimumab (9%) and abatacept (6%). Use of oral steroids was common (40%–50%) and remained similar throughout the study period.
Conclusion
There has been a significant increase in the use of DMARDs for RA over the past two decades. However, 15% of the individuals with a clinical diagnosis of RA were not receiving DMARDs in 2009. Future research should focus on sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with DMARD use for RA.
doi:10.1002/acr.21997
PMCID: PMC3717397  PMID: 23463543
12.  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.
doi:10.1186/ar1013
PMCID: PMC2833457  PMID: 15228615
adalimumab; efficacy; etanercept; infliximab; rheumatoid arthritis
13.  Systematic review of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs for juvenile idiopathic arthritis 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:29.
Background
Treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may improve outcomes compared to conventional therapy (e.g., non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, intra-articular corticosteroids). The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the comparative effectiveness and safety of DMARDs versus conventional therapy and versus other DMARDs.
Results
A systematic evidence review of 156 reports identified in MEDLINE®, EMBASE®, and by hand searches. There is some evidence that methotrexate is superior to conventional therapy. Among children who have responded to a biologic DMARD, randomized discontinuation trials suggest that continued treatment decreases the risk of having a flare. However, these studies evaluated DMARDs with different mechanisms of action (abatacept, adalimumab, anakinra, etanercept, intravenous immunoglobulin, tocilizumab) and used varying comparators and follow-up periods. Rates of serious adverse events are similar between DMARDs and placebo in published trials. This review identified 11 incident cases of cancer among several thousand children treated with one or more DMARD.
Conclusions
Few data are available to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of either specific DMARDs or general classes of DMARDs. However, based on the overall number, quality, and consistency of studies, there is moderate strength of evidence to support that DMARDs improve JIA-associated symptoms. Limited data suggest that short-term risk of cancer is low.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-29
PMCID: PMC3340294  PMID: 22420649
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs; Comparative effectiveness research; Systematic review
14.  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.
doi:10.1186/1478-6354-13-S1-S5
PMCID: PMC3123966  PMID: 21624184
15.  Management of rheumatoid arthritis: consensus recommendations from the Hong Kong Society of Rheumatology 
Clinical Rheumatology  2010;30(3):303-312.
Given the recent availability of novel biologic agents for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the Hong Kong Society of Rheumatology has developed consensus recommendations on the management of RA, which aim at providing guidance to local physicians on appropriate, literature-based management of this condition, specifically on the indications and monitoring of the biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The recommendations were developed using the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) recommendations for the management of early arthritis as a guide, along with local expert opinion. As significant joint damage occurs early in the course of RA, initiating therapy early is key to minimizing further damage and disability. Patients with serious disease or poor prognosis should receive early, aggressive therapy. Because of its good efficacy and safety profile, methotrexate is considered the standard first-line DMARD for most treatment-naïve RA patients. Patients with a suboptimal response to methotrexate monotherapy should receive step-up (combination) therapy with either the synthetic or biologic DMARDs. In recent years, combinations of methotrexate with tocilizumab, abatacept, or rituximab have emerged as effective therapies in patients who are unresponsive to traditional DMARDs or the anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α agents. As biologic agents can increase the risk of infections such as tuberculosis and reactivation of viral hepatitis, screening for the presence of latent tuberculosis and chronic viral hepatitis carrier state is recommended before initiating therapy.
doi:10.1007/s10067-010-1596-y
PMCID: PMC3052444  PMID: 21046421
Hong Kong; Management; Recommendations; Rheumatoid arthritis
16.  A network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of biologics for rheumatoid arthritis: a Cochrane overview 
Background
We sought to compare the benefits and safety of 6 biologics (abatacept, adalimumab, anakinra, etanercept, infliximab and rituximab) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods
In this network meta-analysis, we included all completed and updated Cochrane reviews on biologics for rheumatoid arthritis. We included data from all placebo-controlled trials that used standard dosing regimens. The major outcomes were benefit (defined as a 50% improvement in patient- and physician-reported criteria of the American College of Rheumatology [ACR50]) and safety (determined by the number of withdrawals related to adverse events). We used mixed-effects logistic regression to carry out an indirect comparison of the treatment effects between biologics.
Results
Compared with placebo, biologics were associated with a clinically important higher ACR50 rate (odds ratio [OR] 3.35, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.62–4.29) and a number needed to treat for benefit of 4 (95% CI 4–6). However, biologics were associated with more withdrawals related to adverse events (OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.13–1.71), with a number needed to treat for harm of 52 (95% CI 29–152). Anakinra was less effective than all of the other biologics, although this difference was statistically significant only for the comparison with adalimumab (OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.21–0.99) and etanercept (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.14–0.81). Adalimumab, anakinra and infliximab were more likely than etanercept to lead to withdrawals related to adverse events (adalimumab OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.18–3.04; anakinra OR 2.05, 95% CI 1.27–3.29; and infliximab OR 2.70, 95% CI 1.43–5.26).
Interpretation
Given the limitations of indirect comparisons, anakinra was less effective than adalimumab and etanercept, and etanercept was safer than adalimumab, anakinra and infliximab. This summary of the evidence will help physicians and patients to make evidence-based choices about biologics for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.091391
PMCID: PMC2780484  PMID: 19884297
17.  Do patients with older‐onset rheumatoid arthritis receive less aggressive treatment? 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;65(9):1226-1229.
Rheumatoid arthritis among elderly people is an increasingly important health concern. Despite several cross‐sectional studies, it has not been clearly established whether there are important clinical differences between elderly‐onset rheumatoid arthritis (EORA) and younger‐onset rheumatoid arthritis (YORA). The aim of this study was to compare disease activity and treatment in EORA and YORA, using the Consortium of Rheumatology Researchers of North America (CORRONA) registry, a database generated by rheumatologist investigators across the USA. From the CORRONA registry database of 9381 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 2101 patients with disease onset after the age of 60 years (EORA) were matched, on the basis of disease duration, with 2101 patients with disease onset between the ages of 40 and 60 years (YORA). The primary outcome measures were the proportion of patients on methotrexate, multiple disease‐modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) and biological agents (etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab and kineret) in each group. Disease activity and severity differed slightly between the EORA and YORA groups: Disability Index of the Health Assessment Questionnaire: 0.30 v 0.35; tender joint count: 3.7 v 4.7; swollen joint count: 5.3 v 5.2; Disease Activity Score 28: 3.8 v 3.6; patient global assessment: 29.1 v 30.9; physician global assessment: 24.9 v 26.3; patient pain assessment: 31.4 v 34.9. Regarding treatment, the use of methotrexate use was slightly more common among patients with EORA (63.9%) than among those with YORA (59.6%), although the mean methotrexate dose among the YORA group was higher than that in the EORA group. The percentage of patients with EORA who were on multiple DMARD treatment (30.9%) or on biological agents (25%) was considerably lower than that of patients with YORA (40.5% and 33.1%, respectively; p<0.0001). Toxicity related to treatment was very minimal in both groups, whereas toxicities related to methotrexate were more common in the YORA group. Patients with EORA receive biological treatment and combination DMARD treatment less frequently than those with YORA, despite identical disease duration and comparable disease severity and activity.
doi:10.1136/ard.2005.051144
PMCID: PMC1798297  PMID: 16414968
18.  Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Efficacy and Safety of Existing TNF Blocking Agents in Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30275.
Background and Objectives
Five-tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-blockers (infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab, certolizumab pegol and golimumab) are available for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Only few clinical trials compare one TNF-blocker to another. Hence, a systematic review is required to indirectly compare the substances. The aim of our study is to estimate the efficacy and the safety of TNF-blockers in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and indirectly compare all five currently available blockers by combining the results from included randomized clinical trials (RCT).
Methods
A systematic literature review was conducted using databases including: MEDLINE, SCOPUS (including EMBASE), Cochrane library and electronic search alerts. Only articles reporting double-blind RCTs of TNF-blockers vs. placebo, with or without concomitant methotrexate (MTX), in treatment of RA were selected. Data collected were information of patients, interventions, controls, outcomes, study methods and eventual sources of bias.
Results
Forty-one articles reporting on 26 RCTs were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis. Five RCTs studied infliximab, seven etanercept, eight adalimumab, three golimumab and three certolizumab. TNF-blockers were more efficacious than placebo at all time points but were comparable to MTX. TNF-blocker and MTX combination was superior to either MTX or TNF-blocker alone. Increasing doses did not improve the efficacy. TNF-blockers were relatively safe compared to either MTX or placebo.
Conclusions
No single substance clearly rose above others in efficacy, but the results of the safety analyses suggest that etanercept might be the safest alternative. Interestingly, MTX performs nearly identically considering both efficacy and safety aspects with a margin of costs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030275
PMCID: PMC3260264  PMID: 22272322
19.  Impact of concomitant DMARD therapy on adherence to treatment with etanercept and infliximab in rheumatoid arthritis. Results from a six-year observational study in southern Sweden 
The objective of this work is to compare the adherence to therapy of patients receiving etanercept and infliximab during first tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-blocking treatment course in rheumatoid arthritis. Special emphasis is placed on potential predictors for treatment termination and the impact of concomitant methotrexate (MTX) or other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Patients (n = 1,161) with active rheumatoid arthritis, not responding to at least two DMARDs including MTX starting etanercept or infliximab therapy for the first time, were included in a structured clinical follow-up protocol. Information on diagnosis, disease duration, previous and ongoing DMARDs, treatment start and termination, as well as cause of withdrawal was prospectively collected during the period of March 1999 through December 2004. Patients were divided into six groups according to TNF-blocking drugs and concomitant DMARDs. Five-year level (one-year) of adherence to therapy was 36% (69%) for patients receiving infliximab in combination with MTX compared with 65% (89%) for patients treated with etanercept and MTX (p < 0.001). Cox regression models showed that the risk for premature treatment termination of patients treated with infliximab was threefold higher than for etanercept (p < 0.001). Also, the regression analysis showed that patients receiving concomitant MTX had better treatment continuation than patients treated solely with TNF blockers (p < 0.001). Moreover, patients receiving concomitant MTX had superior drug survival than patients receiving other concomitant DMARDs (p < 0.010). The superior effect of MTX was associated primarily with fewer treatment terminations because of adverse events. In addition, the study identifies low C-reactive protein level, high age, elevated health assessment questionnaire score, and higher previous number of DMARDs as predictors of premature treatment termination. In summary, treatment with etanercept has higher adherence to therapy than treatment with infliximab. Concomitant MTX is associated with improved treatment continuation of biologics when compared with both TNF blockers as monotherapy and TNF blockers combined with other DMARDs.
doi:10.1186/ar2084
PMCID: PMC1794519  PMID: 17121678
20.  TNF inhibitor therapy for rheumatoid arthritis 
Biomedical Reports  2012;1(2):177-184.
Immunotherapy has markedly improved treatment outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α antagonists, such as infliximab (IFX), etanercept (ETN), adalimumab (ADA), golimumab (GOLI) and certolizumab pegol (CZP) have been widely used for the treatment of RA. IFX provides significant, clinically relevant improvement in physical function and the quality of life, inhibits progressive joint damage and sustains improvement in the signs and symptoms of patients with RA. ETN is effective and safe for patients with RA. Combination therapy with ETN plus methotrexate (MTX) reduces disease activity, decreases total joint score progression, slows the pace of joint destruction and improves function more effectively compared to any of the monotherapies. ADA with or without MTX also relieves the signs and symptoms of RA. CZP and GOLI expand the therapeutic schedule for patients with RA. The TNF-α inhibitors have similar efficacy, but distinct clinical pharmacokinetic and -dynamic properties. The common adverse events of these TNF-α antagonists include adverse reactions, infections and injection-site reaction. Additionally, these adverse events are mostly mild or moderate and their incidence is low. Certain patients exhibit a lack of response to anti-TNF-α therapies. Some patients may discontinue the initial drug and switch to a second anti-TNF-α agent. The shortage of clinical response to one agent may not predict deficiency of response to another. This review mainly addresses the latest developments of these biological agents in the treatment of RA.
doi:10.3892/br.2012.42
PMCID: PMC3956207  PMID: 24648915
rheumatoid arthritis; immunotherapy; biological agent
21.  Influence of tumor necrosis factor α in rheumatoid arthritis  
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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
22.  Treatment continuation in patients receiving biological agents or conventional DMARD therapy 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;64(9):1274-1279.
Objective: To compare drug continuation rates in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who start on a biological agent and in a control group of patients with a change in disease modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) treatment after previous DMARD failure.
Methods: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis enrolled in the German biologics register between May 2001 and September 2003 were included in the study. Data were available for 511 patients treated with etanercept, 343 with infliximab, 70 with anakinra, and 599 controls. Propensity scores were used to select a subsample of patients from the control group who were likely to be treated with biological agents because of their disease severity, as well as comparable infliximab and etanercept cases.
Results: Treatment continuation after 12 months was similar for etanercept (68.6% (95% confidence interval, 62% to 75%)) and infliximab (65.4% (58% to 73%)) but lower for anakinra (59% (41% to 77%)). Treatment continuation was more likely for patients on combinations of biological agents and DMARDs than for those on infliximab or etanercept alone. Patients treated with biological agents were more severely ill than those in the control group and had more previous DMARD failures. After adjustment for baseline differences, the continuation rates were higher in patients treated with biological agents than in comparable control patients treated with leflunomide or leflunomide/methotrexate.
Conclusions: Treatment continuation of biological agents in clinical practice is less likely than in randomised clinical trials but more likely than in comparable controls treated with conventional DMARDs.
doi:10.1136/ard.2004.031476
PMCID: PMC1755655  PMID: 15708884
23.  Clinical, radiographic and immunogenic effects after 1 year of tocilizumab-based treatment strategies in rheumatoid arthritis: the ACT-RAY study 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2014;73(5):803-809.
Objective
To assess the 1-year efficacy and safety of a regimen of tocilizumab plus methotrexate or placebo, which was augmented by a treat-to-target strategy from week 24.
Methods
ACT-RAY was a double-blind, 3-year trial. Adults with active rheumatoid arthritis despite methotrexate were randomised to add tocilizumab to ongoing methotrexate (add-on strategy) or to switch to tocilizumab plus placebo (switch strategy). Tocilizumab 8 mg/kg was administered every 4 weeks. Conventional open-label disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) other than methotrexate were added at week 24 or later in patients with DAS28>3.2.
Results
556 patients were randomised; 85% completed 52 weeks. The proportion of patients receiving open-label DMARDs was comparable in the add-on (29%) and switch (33%) arms. Overall, week 24 results were maintained or further improved at week 52 in both arms. Some endpoints favoured the add-on strategy. Mean changes in Genant-modified Sharp scores were small; more add-on (92.8%) than switch patients (86.1%) had no radiographic progression. At week 52, comparable numbers of patients had antidrug antibodies (ADAs; 1.5% and 2.2% of add-on and switch patients, respectively) and neutralising ADAs (0.7% and 1.8%). Rates of serious adverse events and serious infections per 100 patient-year (PY) were 11.3 and 4.5 in add-on and 16.8 and 5.5 in switch patients. In patients with normal baseline values, alanine aminotransferase elevations >3× upper limit of normal were observed in 11% of add-on and 3% of switch patients.
Conclusions
Despite a trend favouring the add-on strategy, these data suggest that both tocilizumab add-on and switch strategies led to meaningful clinical and radiographic responses.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204761
PMCID: PMC3995223  PMID: 24473673
Rheumatoid Arthritis; DMARDs (biologic); Methotrexate
24.  A randomised efficacy and discontinuation study of etanercept versus adalimumab (RED SEA) for rheumatoid arthritis: a pragmatic, unblinded, non-inferiority study of first TNF inhibitor use: outcomes over 2 years 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e001395.
Objective
To compare adalimumab versus etanercept in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to test the hypothesis that adalimumab was not inferior to etanercept in terms of drug continuation by a margin of 15% after 52 weeks of treatment.
Design
Pragmatic, randomised, parallel group, multicentre, unblinded and non-inferiority trial. Randomisation stratified by baseline use of methotrexate.
Participants
125 adults with active RA despite treatment with two disease-modifying drugs (DMARDs), including methotrexate randomised (1 : 1) to adalimumab 40 mg alternate weeks or etanercept 50 mg weekly, added to existing medication.
Measurements
The primary outcome was proportion of patients continuing treatment after 52 weeks. Secondary outcomes included: disease activity score using 28 joints (DAS28), treatment satisfaction (TSQM V.2), health status (Euroqol-5D), drug toxicity and persistence with therapy after 2 years.
Results
Persistence with therapy was 65% for adalimumab versus 56.7% for etanercept (one-sided 95% CI for proportion still taking adalimumab minus proportion on etanercept ≥−7.9%); demonstrating non-inferiority at the 15% margin. After 2 years these figures were: adalimumab 58.3% and etanecept 43.3% (CI ≥−1.7%). The proportion of good, moderate and non-responders based on DAS28-C reactive protein, after 52 weeks, were 26.3%, 33.3% and 40.4%, respectively, for adalimumab versus 16.7%, 31.7% and 51.7%, respectively, for etanercept (p=0.158). Baseline median EQ-5D scores improved from 0.52 to 0.69 for adalimumab and from 0.52 to 0.64 for etanercept (p=0.046) after 52 weeks. Global satisfaction, effectiveness, side effects and convenience scores based on the TSQM were similar for both drugs. Fourteen serious adverse events occurred including two deaths from myocardial infarction, one patient with ovarian cancer and one with acute myeloid leukaemia.
Conclusions
Clinicians choosing a first tumour necrosis factor inhibitor for active RA, despite trying two DMARDs including methotrexate, may choose either adalimumab or etanercept in the knowledge that these drugs are similarly effective.
Clinical trial registration number
EU Clinical Trials Register 2006-006275-21/GB.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001395
PMCID: PMC3532970  PMID: 23148339
Rheumatology
25.  Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) drugs for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis: an indirect comparison meta-analysis 
Objective
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).
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.2147/BTT.S37606
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

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