Anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) therapy is a mainstay of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In 2001, BSRBR was established to evaluate the safety of these agents. This paper addresses the safety of anti-TNF therapy in RA with specific reference to serious skin and soft tissue infections (SSSI) and shingles.
A cohort of anti-TNF-treated patients was recruited alongside a comparator group with active RA treated with non-biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (nbDMARD). 11 881 anti-TNF and 3673 nbDMARD patients were analysed. Follow-up was by 6-monthly questionnaires to patients and clinicians. Analyses considered SSSI and shingles separately. Incidence rates (IR) were calculated and then compared using survival analyses.
The crude IR for SSSI were: anti-TNF 1.6/100 patient-years (95% CI 1.4 to 1.8); nbDMARD 0.7/100 patient-years (95% CI 0.5 to 1.0) and shingles: anti-TNF 1.6/100 patient-years (95% CI 1.3 to 2.0); nbDMARD 0.8/100 patient-years (95% CI 0.6 to 1.1). Adjusted HR were SSSI 1.4 (95% CI 0.9 to 2.4), shingles 1.8 (95% CI 1.2 to 2.8). For SSSI, no significant differences were seen between anti-TNF agents. For shingles, the lowest risk was observed for adalimumab (adjusted HR vs nbDMARD) 1.5 (95% CI 1.1 to 2.0) and highest for infliximab (HR 2.2; 95% CI 1.4 to 3.4)).
A significantly increased risk of shingles was observed in the anti-TNF-treated cohort. The risk of SSSI tended towards being greater with anti-TNF treatment but was not statistically significant. As with any observational dataset cause and effect cannot be established with certainty as residual confounding may remain. This finding would support the evaluation of zoster vaccination in this population.
Objectives. To quantify the risk of cancer and compare it with that for the general population in a modern cohort of UK patients with RA and to identify risk factors for cancer among this cohort.
Methods. The study population comprised biologic-naïve RA subjects receiving non-biologic disease-modifying therapy recruited to the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register from 2002 to 2009. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for cancers were calculated using age- and gender-specific cancer rates in the English population. Poisson regression models adjusted for age and gender using England general population data were used to determine the association of other predictors with incident malignancy.
Results. The cohort comprised 3771 individuals with RA contributing 13 315 person-years of follow-up. One hundred and eighty-two cancers were reported: 156 solid and 26 myelo- or lymphoproliferative cancers. The overall SIR was 1.28 (95% CI 1.10, 1.48). Risks of lung cancer (SIR 2.39, 95% CI 1.75, 3.19), Hodgkin lymphoma (SIR 12.82, 95% CI 4.16, 29.92) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (SIR 3.12, 95% CI 1.79, 5.07) were higher compared with the general population and risks of prostate cancer (SIR 0.35, 95% CI 0.11, 0.82) and cancers of the female genital organs (SIR 0.35, 95% CI 0.10, 0.90) were reduced. Within the cohort, cancer risk was more than 2-fold higher in current or ex-smokers than in non-smokers.
Conclusion. The overall incidence of cancer was increased in this national cohort of subjects with RA. The association of RA with certain cancers needs to be considered when studying the effects of biologic therapy, such as anti-TNF, on cancer risk.
rheumatoid arthritis; cancer; lymphoma; standardized incidence ratio
There are few data concerning the impact of inflammatory polyarthritis (IP) on quantitative heel ultrasound (QUS) measurements. The aims of this analysis were i) to determine the influence of IP on QUS measurements at the heel and, ii) among those with IP to determine the influence of disease related factors on these measurements.
Men and women aged 16 years and over with recent onset IP were recruited to the Norfolk Arthritis Register (NOAR). Individuals with an onset of joint symptoms between 1989 and 1999 were included in this analysis. At the baseline visit subjects underwent a standardised interview and clinical examination with blood taken for rheumatoid factor. A population-based prospective study of chronic disease (EPIC-Norfolk) independently recruited men and women aged 40 to 79 years from the same geographic area between 1993 and 1997. At a follow up assessment between 1998 and 2000 subjects in EPIC-Norfolk were invited to have quantitative ultrasound measurements of the heel (CUBA-Clinical) performed. We compared speed of sound (SOS) and broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA), in those subjects recruited to NOAR who had ultrasound measurements performed (as part of EPIC-Norfolk) subsequent to the onset of joint symptoms with a group of age and sex matched non-IP controls who had participated in EPIC-Norfolk. Fixed effect linear regression was used to explore the influence of IP on the heel ultrasound parameters (SOS and BUA) so the association could be quantified as the mean difference in BUA and SOS between cases and controls. In those with IP, linear regression was used to examine the association between these parameters and disease related factors.
139 men and women with IP and 278 controls (mean age 63.2 years) were studied. Among those with IP, mean BUA was 76.3 dB/MHz and SOS 1621.8 m/s. SOS was lower among those with IP than the controls (difference = −10.0; 95% confidence interval (CI) –17.4, -2.6) though BUA was similar (difference = −1.2; 95% CI −4.5, +2.1). The difference in SOS persisted after adjusting for body mass index and steroid use. Among those with IP, disease activity as determined by the number of swollen joints at baseline, was associated with a lower SOS. In addition SOS was lower in the subgroup that satisfied the 1987 ACR criteria. By contrast, disease duration, steroid use and HAQ score were not associated with either BUA or SOS.
In this general population derived cohort of individuals with inflammatory polyarthritis there is evidence from ultrasound of a potentially adverse effect on the skeleton. The effect appears more marked in those with active disease.
The utility of reassessing anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibody status later in disease in patients presenting with early undifferentiated inflammatory polyarthritis, particularly in those who test negative for both anti-CCP and rheumatoid factor (RF) at baseline, remains unclear. We aimed therefore to determine the stability of CCP antibody status over time and the prognostic utility of repeated testing in subjects with early inflammatory polyarthritis (IP).
Anti-CCP and RF were measured at baseline and 5 years in 640 IP patients from the Norfolk Arthritis Register, a primary care-based inception cohort. The relation between change in anti-CCP status/titer and the presence of radiologic erosions, the extent of the Larsen score, and Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) score by 5 years was investigated.
With a cut-off of 5 U/ml, 28% subjects tested positive for anti-CCP antibodies, 29% for RF, and 21% for both at baseline. Nine (2%) anti-CCP-negative patients seroconverted to positive, and nine (4.6%) anti-CCP-positive individuals became negative between baseline and 5 years. In contrast, RF status changed in 17% of subjects. However, change in RF status was strongly linked to baseline anti-CCP status and was not independently associated with outcome. Ever positivity for anti-CCP antibodies by 5 years did not improve prediction of radiographic damage compared with baseline status alone (accuracy, 75% versus 74%). A higher baseline anti-CCP titer (but not change in anti-CCP titer) predicted worse radiologic damage at 5 years (P < 0.0001), even at levels below the cut-off for anti-CCP positivity. Thus, a titer of 2 to 5 U/ml was strongly associated with erosions by 5 years (odds ratio, 3.6 (1.5 to 8.3); P = 0.003).
Repeated testing of anti-CCP antibodies or RF in patients with IP does not improve prognostic value and should not be recommended in routine clinical practice.
Objective. To perform a meta-synthesis of the evidence for modifiable lifestyle risk factors for inflammatory polyarthritis (IP) and RA.
Methods. We performed a MEDLINE literature search. Case–control and cohort studies and systematic reviews published from 1948 through February 2011 and studying modifiable risk factors for RA were retrieved. The main outcome measure was diagnosis of RA according to the standard criteria.
Results. Smoking contributes up to 25% of the population burden of RA. The risk is dose related, stronger in males and especially strong for anti-citrullinated peptide antibody positive (ACPA+) RA through an interaction with the shared epitope. After smoking cessation, there is, however, a latency of up to 20 years to return to baseline risk. Other associations are less definitive; however, prospective studies suggest that dietary antioxidants and breastfeeding may be protective and that high coffee consumption may increase RA risk. An inverse association with alcohol intake (especially in smokers) and with education/social class (especially seropositive RA) and an increased risk with obesity (seronegative RA) is also noted.
Conclusion. There is a need for further large-scale prospective studies with a consistent definition of RA phenotype (undifferentiated IP through to ACPA+/RF+ disease). This will ultimately afford the opportunity to evaluate preventative population strategies for RA akin to the well-established programmes for cardiovascular disease and cancer, targeting common risk factors.
rheumatoid arthritis; review; risk factors; epidemiology; lifestyle; environment; smoking; alcohol; diet; social class
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in patients with inflammatory polyarthritis (IP), especially in seropositive disease. In established rheumatoid arthritis (RA), insulin resistance (IR) is increased and associated with CVD. We investigated factors associated with IR in an inception cohort of patients with early IP.
Patients with early IP (two or more swollen joints for four or more weeks), aged 18 to 65 years, seen within 24 months of symptom onset were recruited from the Norfolk Arthritis Register (NOAR), a primary-care-based inception cohort. Assessment included joint examination, current and prior therapy and completion of the Health Assessment Questionnaire. Fasting blood was taken for measurement of CVD risk factors, rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA), C-reactive protein (CRP), and insulin levels. IR was calculated using the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA-IR). We examined factors associated with IR using univariate and multivariable linear regression models.
A total of 196 patients, including 59 (30%) males, were studied with a median (interquartile range, IQR) age and IP symptom duration of 49 (40 to 57) years and 6.7 (4.6 to 10.7) months, respectively. After age and gender adjustment, HOMA-IR was associated with obesity, (β-Coefficient (95% CI); 1.60 (0.96, 2.24)), higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure (0.03 (0.01, 0.05) and 0.04 (0.01, 0.08) respectively), triglycerides (1.06 (0.54, 1.57)), and HDL (-1.38 (-2.17,-0.58)). HOMA-IR was associated with serological status and this association persisted after adjustment for classic CVD risk factors and other IP-related variables (RF β-Coefficient (95% CI); 0.87 (0.20, 1.53) and ACPA β-Coefficient (95% CI); 1.42 (0.70, 2.15)).
Seropositivity for RF or ACPA was associated with IR in this early IP cohort. This association may, in part, explain why seropositive patients have excess CVD mortality.
The American College of Rheumatology and the European League Against Rheumatism have developed new classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of Phase 2 of the development process was to achieve expert consensus on the clinical and laboratory variables that should contribute to the final criteria set.
Twenty-four expert RA clinicians (12 from Europe and 12 from North America) participated in Phase 2. A consensus-based decision analysis approach was used to identify factors (and their relative weights) that influence the probability of “developing RA,” complemented by data from the Phase 1 study. Patient case scenarios were used to identify and reach consensus on factors important in determining the probability of RA development. Decision analytic software was used to derive the relative weights for each of the factors and their categories, using choice-based conjoint analysis.
The expert panel agreed that the new classification criteria should be applied to individuals with undifferentiated inflammatory arthritis in whom at least 1 joint is deemed by an expert assessor to be swollen, indicating definite synovitis. In this clinical setting, they identified 4 additional criteria as being important: number of joints involved and site of involvement, serologic abnormality, acute-phase response, and duration of symptoms in the involved joints. These criteria were consistent with those identified in the Phase 1 data-driven approach.
The consensus-based, decision analysis approach used in Phase 2 complemented the Phase 1 efforts. The 4 criteria and their relative weights form the basis of the final criteria set.
To identify baseline disease-related predictors in patients with early inflammatory polyarthritis (IP) for starting subsequent biological therapy and to determine if patients who failed their first non-biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) within 6 months were more likely to need biological therapy.
Patients with early IP recruited between 1990 and 1994 (cohort 1) and between 2000 and 2004 (cohort 2) in the Norfolk Arthritis Register were included in this study. The association between possible predictors with the start of biological therapy was assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression models.
32/407 (7.9%) patients in cohort 1 and 45/416 (10.8%) patients in cohort 2 received biological therapy during follow-up. In both cohorts, anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) positivity (cohort 1, HR 7.62, 95% CI 2.46 to 23.58; cohort 2, HR 4.68, 95% CI 2.23 to 9.78) was the strongest predictor for starting biological therapy. In cohort 2, younger patients (HR 0.97, 95% CI 0.95 to 0.99) and patients who failed their first non-biological DMARD within 6 months due to inefficacy were also more likely to receive biological therapy (HR 2.35, 95% CI 1.05 to 5.27).
Patients with early IP who are ACPA positive, are younger or who fail their first non-biological DMARD due to inefficacy within 6 months are more likely to need biological therapy.
The British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register (BSRBR) has collected data on adverse events including pregnancies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapy. The purpose of this report is to summarise the pregnancy outcomes in women treated with anti-TNF in the BSRBR.
Patients were categorised according to anti-TNF exposure as follows: (1) exposure to anti-TNF and to methotrexate (MTX) and/or leflunomide (LEF) at conception (n=21 pregnancies); (2) exposure to anti-TNF at conception (n=50); (3) exposure to anti-TNF prior to conception (n=59); (4) no exposure to anti-TNF (control group; n=10).
Eighty-eight live births in a total of 130 pregnancies were reported in patients who received anti-TNF before or during pregnancy. The rate of spontaneous abortion was highest among patients exposed to anti-TNF at the time of conception (with MTX/LEF 33% and without MTX/LEF 24%). This compared with 17% spontaneous abortions in those with prior exposure to anti-TNF and 10% spontaneous abortions in the control group. Ten terminations were performed.
Although the results to date have been promising, no firm conclusions can be drawn about the safety of anti-TNF during pregnancy and, without further evidence, guidelines which suggest these drugs should be avoided at the time of conception cannot yet be changed.
To evaluate the effect of different concomitant disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) on the persistence with antitumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
This analysis included 10 396 patients with RA registered with the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register, a prospective observational cohort study, who were starting their first anti-TNF therapy and were receiving one of the following DMARD treatments at baseline: no DMARD (n=3339), methotrexate (MTX) (n=4418), leflunomide (LEF) (n=610), sulfasalazine (SSZ) (n=308), MTX+SSZ (n=902), MTX+ hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) (n=401) or MTX+SSZ+HCQ (n=418). Kaplan–Meier survival analysis was used to study the persistence with anti-TNF therapy in each DMARD subgroup up to 5 years. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard models, stratified by anti-TNF used and start year and adjusted for a number of potential confounders, were used to compare treatment persistence overall and according to the reason for discontinuation between each of the DMARD subgroups, using MTX as reference.
One-year drug survival (95% CI) for the first anti-TNF therapy was 71% (71% to 72%) but this dropped to 42% (41% to 43%) at 5 years. Compared with MTX, patients receiving no DMARD, LEF or SSZ were more likely to discontinue their first anti-TNF therapy while patients receiving MTX in combination with other DMARDs showed better treatment persistence.
These results support the continued use of background DMARD combinations which include MTX. Consideration should be given to the discontinuation of LEF and SSZ monotherapy at the time anti-TNF therapies are started, with the possible exception of the SSZ+ETN combination.
Subjects with rheumatoid factor positive inflammatory polyarthritis (IP) are known to have increased mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD). A study was undertaken to examine the risk and baseline predictors of admission with CVD in patients with recent-onset IP.
Subjects are recruited by the Norfolk Arthritis Register if they present to primary or secondary care with ≥2 swollen joints lasting ≥4 weeks. This analysis includes subjects recruited between 1995 and 1999. Baseline data on lifestyle, demographic characteristics, disease and treatment characteristics were collected. CVD admissions were identified through record linkage with the only acute care hospital in the study region. First-episode hospitalisation rates were compared with those of the general population. Poisson regression was used to calculate the relative risk (RR) of admission for patients with IP (overall and for each risk factor). Death certificates were obtained from the national death register.
800 patients with recent-onset IP were followed for a median of 7.0 years. 64 CVD-related hospitalisations were observed (11.7 per 1000 person-years). Patients with IP were twice as likely (RR=2.0; 95% CI 1.5 to 2.5) to be hospitalised for CVD as the general population. Difficulty walking at baseline was a significant predictor of CVD admission and baseline non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use was associated with a reduced risk of CVD admission.
Patients with IP are at increased risk of CVD-related hospitalisation, within 7 years of symptom onset. Informing patients about lifestyle modification may reduce the risk of CVD.
Objectives. To evaluate the risk of serious infections (SIs) in patients with RA treated with anti-TNF therapy with emphasis on the risk across different ages.
Methods. Using data from the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register, a prospective observational study, we compared the risk of SI between 11 798 anti-TNF-treated patients and 3598 non-biologic DMARD (nbDMARD)-treated patients.
Results. A total of 1808 patients had at least one SI (anti-TNF: 1512; nbDMARD: 296). Incidence rates were: anti-TNF 42/1000 patient-years of follow-up (95% CI 40, 44) and nbDMARD 32/1000 patient-years of follow-up (95% CI 28, 36). The adjusted hazard ratio (adjHR) for SI in the anti-TNF cohort was 1.2 (95% CI 1.1, 1.5). The risk did not differ significantly between the three agents adalimumab, etanercept and infliximab. The risk was highest during the first 6 months of therapy [adjHR 1.8 (95% CI 1.3, 2.6)]. Although increasing age was an independent risk factor for SI in both cohorts, there was no difference in relative risk of infection in patients on anti-TNF therapy in the older population. There was no difference in hospital stay for SI between cohorts. Mortality within 30 days of SI was 50% lower in the anti-TNF cohort [odds ratio 0.5 (95% CI 0.3, 0.8)].
Conclusions. These data add to currently available evidence suggesting that anti-TNF therapy is associated with a small but significant overall risk of SI. This must be balanced against the risks associated with poor disease control or alternative treatments.
Rheumatoid arthritis; Anti-TNF therapy; Epidemiology; Serious infection; Elderly; Outcome
Objectives. Anti-TNF therapy has significantly improved outcomes for patients with severe RA. In the UK, changing financial restrictions and increasing experience with their use may have resulted in changes to the way physicians use anti-TNF therapies. The aim of this analysis was to examine changes in disease characteristics and response rates among patients starting anti-TNF therapy for RA over an 8-year period.
Methods. A total of 11 216 RA patients registered between 2001 and 2008 with the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register were included and stratified according to year of first anti-TNF prescription. Baseline characteristics and treatment response were compared year on year using logistic and linear regression models.
Results. Mean RA disease activity and severity of new anti-TNF-treated patients decreased between 2001 and 2008. The mean disease duration remained high (11 years in 2008) although the proportion of patients having disease duration <5 years increased significantly (2001: 9%; 2008: 29%; P < 0.001). The majority of patients had failed three DMARDs on average before the first anti-TNF prescription. There was an increase in both the proportion of EULAR good responders at 1 year (2001: 18%; 2008: 30%; P < 0.001) and in the number of patients achieving remission (2001: 8%; 2008: 17%; P < 0.001). Drug survival remained relatively stable over the study years.
Conclusions. There is a significant trend towards earlier use of anti-TNF therapies in patients with less severe disease, although the mean disease duration at first treatment remains high. This has correlated with improvements in outcome. These results support the earlier use of anti-TNF therapies in RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis; Anti-TNF therapy; Prescription pattern; Treatment response; Treatment outcome; Remission
Objectives. To determine the influence of disease-related variables on hand cortical bone loss in women with early inflammatory arthritis (IA), and whether hand cortical bone mass predicts subsequent joint damage.
Method. Adults aged ≥16 years with recent onset of IA were recruited to the Norfolk Arthritis Register between 1990 and 1998, and followed prospectively. At baseline, patients had their joints examined for swelling and tenderness and had CRP and disease activity 28-joint assessment score (DAS-28) measured. Radiographs of the hands were performed in a subgroup of patients at Year 1 and at follow-up, which were assessed using digital X-ray radiogrammetry (DXR). They were also evaluated for the presence of erosions using Larsen’s method. Linear mixed models were used to investigate whether disease-related factors predicted change in DXR–areal bone mineral density (BMDa). We also evaluated whether DXR–BMDa predicted the subsequent occurrence of erosive disease.
Results. Two hundred and four women, mean (s.d.) age 55.1 (14.0) years, were included. Median follow-up between radiographs was 4 years. The mean within-subject change in BMDa was 0.024 g/cm2 equivalent to 1% decline per year. After adjustment for age, height and weight, compared with those within the lower tertile for CRP, those in the upper tertile had greater subsequent loss of bone. This was true also for DAS-28 and Larsen score. Among those without erosions on the initial radiograph (121), DXR–BMDa at baseline did not predict the new occurrence of erosions.
Conclusion. Increased disease activity and severity are associated with accelerated bone loss. However, lower BMDa did not predict the new occurrence of erosive disease.
Inflammatory arthritis; Digital X-ray radiogrammetry; Norfolk Arthritis Register; Radiological erosions
The aim of this analysis was to determine the relative influence of disease and non-disease factors on areal bone mineral density (BMDa) in a primary care based cohort of women with inflammatory polyarthritis.
Women aged 16 years and over with recent onset inflammatory polyarthritis were recruited to the Norfolk Arthritis Register (NOAR) between 1990 and 1993. Subjects were examined at both baseline and follow up for the presence of tender, swollen and deformed joints. At the 10th anniversary visit, a sub-sample of women were invited to complete a bone health questionnaire and attend for BMDa (Hologic, QDR 4000). Linear regression was used to examine the association between BMDa with both (i) arthritis-related factors assessed at baseline and the 10th anniversary visit and (ii) standard risk factors for osteoporosis. Adjustments were made for age.
108 women, mean age 58.0 years were studied. Older age, decreasing weight and BMI at follow up were all associated with lower BMDa at both the spine and femoral neck. None of the lifestyle factors were linked. Indices of joint damage including 10th anniversary deformed joint count and erosive joint count were the arthritis-related variables linked with a reduction in BMDa at the femoral neck. By contrast, disease activity as determined by the number of tender and or swollen joints assessed both at baseline and follow up was not linked with BMDa at either site.
Cumulative disease damage was the strongest predictor of reduced femoral bone density. Other disease and lifestyle factors have only a modest influence.
Objective. To describe working status in patients with RA, AS and PsA treated with anti-TNF therapy registered with the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register.
Methods. Patients with RA (n = 3291), AS (n = 229) and PsA (n = 254) treated with anti-TNF therapy were included in this study. In addition, biologic-naive patients with RA (n = 379) were included. At baseline and 3 years after registration, all patients reported their working status. Baseline characteristics between working and work-disabled patients were compared. Logistic regression analysis was applied to identify factors associated with new work disability in patients with RA.
Results. At baseline, work disability rates were already high: 49% for RA, 39% for PsA, 41% for AS and 36% for biologic-naive patients. Work-disabled patients had a higher HAQ score and worse disease activity than working patients. Working patients with a high HAQ score [odds ratio (OR) 2.79; 95% CI 1.89, 4.12] and a manual job (OR 2.31; 95% CI 1.52, 3.52) at baseline were more likely to become work disabled at follow-up, while those patients in remission 6 months after commencing anti-TNF therapy were less likely to become work disabled. However, use of anti-TNF therapy did not prevent patients with RA from becoming work disabled (OR for RA control patients vs RA anti-TNF patients 0.80; 95% CI 0.36, 1.81, adjusted for baseline variables).
Conclusion. A high percentage of patients with RA, AS and PsA were already work disabled at the start of anti-TNF therapy. There is less future work disability in working patients with RA who responded to anti-TNF therapy.
Rheumatoid arthritis; Ankylosing spondylitis; Psoriatic arthritis; Work disability; Anti-TNF therapy
To assess the cost effectiveness and cost effectiveness acceptability of symptom control delivered by shared care (SCSC) and aggressive treatment delivered in hospital (ATH) for established rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Economic data were collected within the British Rheumatoid Outcome Study Group randomised controlled trial of SCSC and ATH. A broad perspective was used (UK National Health Service, social support services and patients). Cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained, net benefit statistics and cost effectiveness acceptability curves were estimated. Costs and outcomes were discounted at 3.5%. Sensitivity analysis tested the robustness of the results to analytical assumptions.
The mean (SD) cost per person was £4540 (4700) in the SCSC group and £4440 (4900) in the ATH group. The mean (SD) QALYs per person for 3 years were 1.67 (0.56) in the SCSC group and 1.60 (0.60) in the ATH group. If decision makers are prepared to pay ⩾£2000 to gain 1 QALY, SCSC is likely to be cost effective in 60–90% of cases.
The primary economic analysis and sensitivity analyses indicate that SCSC is likely to be more cost effective than ATH in 60–90% of cases. This result seems to be robust to assumptions required by the analysis. This study is one of a limited number of randomised controlled trials to collect detailed resource use and health status data and estimate the costs and QALYs of treatment for established RA. This trial is one of the largest RA studies to use the EuroQol.
To investigate the predictive value of early functional disability in patients with inflammatory polyarthritis (IP), for all‐cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality.
1010 subjects with new‐onset IP from the Norfolk Arthritis Register were studied. All were seen at baseline and at 1 year. Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) scores were obtained at both time points. Vital status at 10 years from registration was established through central records. Mortality (all‐cause and CVD) per 1000 person‐years were calculated by HAQ stratum (HAQ scores <1, 1–2 and ⩾2). The predictive value of HAQ (per unit increase) at the two time points, adjusted for age at onset of symptom, sex and other factors found to predict mortality, was assessed using Cox regression models. The analysis was repeated for those who satisfied the 1987 American College of Rheumatology criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by 5 years.
By 10 years, 171 (16.9%) subjects had died. 89 deaths (52%) were attributed to CVD. Mortality was greatest in the highest HAQ group at both time points. Following adjustment for other predictors, HAQ score at year 1 remained a significant predictor of all‐cause mortality (HR 1.46; 95% CI 1.15 to 1.85) and CVD mortality (HR 1.49; 95% CI 1.12 to 1.97). The predictive value of HAQ at year 1 was similar in the RA subgroup.
Our data show that at 1 year of follow‐up, HAQ score is an important independent predictor of subsequent all‐cause and CVD mortalities in people with IP and RA. Baseline HAQ scores are of less value.
Objectives. Recent whole-genome and candidate gene association studies in RA have identified a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that predispose to disease with moderate risk. It remains poorly understood how recently identified genetic factors may contribute to RA severity. We therefore sought to investigate the role of recently identified RA susceptibility SNP markers in predicting erosive outcome in patients with recent-onset inflammatory polyarthritis (IP).
Methods. DNA and X-ray data were available for 1049 patients who were registered between 1990 and 2003 with the Norfolk Arthritis Register (NOAR); a primary care-based inception cohort of patients with recent-onset IP. Demographic and clinical data were recorded at inclusion, and at yearly assessments thereafter. Patients were genotyped for 18 SNP markers. The presence of serum anti citrullinated peptide antibodies (ACPAs) was assessed in samples collected at inclusion to the NOAR. The association of serological and genetic markers with poor radiological (Larsen) score at Years 1 and 5, and erosions at Years 1 and 5 was investigated.
Results. Baseline ACPA positivity was associated with erosive disease and higher radiological damage. SNP markers within the TRAF1/C5 locus were associated with erosive disease at Year 1 [rs2900180: odds ratio (OR) 1.53 (95% CI 1.14, 2.05)] and Year 5 [rs2900180: OR 1.47 (95% CI 1.07, 2.02)]. None of the SNP markers tested was associated with Larsen score.
Conclusion. Our results are in keeping with a previous report and suggest that the TRAF1/C5 region is associated with risk of development of radiological erosions in IP/RA patients. The finding requires replication in other large data sets.
Genetic association; Erosions; Inflammatory polyarthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis
The increased mortality observed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is partly due to an increased occurrence of serious infections. A retrospective study from the Mayo Clinic found that infection risk is increased in rheumatoid arthritis. In particular, serious infection was associated with severe disease and use of corticosteroids. Robust estimates are required from prospective studies of incident cases.
To examine the risk of infection leading to hospitalisation and potential factors associated with this risk in an unselected population of patients with inflammatory polyarthritis.
A prospective cohort study comparing infection incidence in new‐onset patients with inflammatory polyarthritis with local population experience.
Patients and methods
2108 patients with inflammatory polyarthritis from a community‐based register were studied and followed up annually (median 9.2 years). The rate of hospitalisations for serious infection was compared with the rate of hospitalisations in the regional population. The contribution of potential predictors was assessed by undertaking a within‐cohort analysis.
Overall, the incidence of infection was more than two and a half times that of the general population (varying by site). History of smoking, corticosteroid use and rheumatoid factor were found to be significantly independent predictors of infection‐related hospitalisation. Patients with inflammatory polyarthritis with all three factors were more than seven times as likely to be hospitalised compared with the rest of the cohort.
These findings provide background data on the risk of infection associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and are of particular interest given the current awareness of the risk of infection associated with anti‐tumour necrosis factorα treatments.
Increasing age at onset has been associated with worse outcome in rheumatoid arthritis, although there are few data from unselected inception cohorts.
Increasing age is associated with a higher risk of erosions at presentation, and this increase is not explained by age‐related disease confounders.
Subjects and methods
222 subjects (median onset age 59 years) were studied from a primary‐care‐based register of new‐onset inflammatory polyarthritis. Patients had hand and feet radiographs taken within 12 months from symptom onset. Films were scored by two readers using the Larsen score. The risk of erosions in those aged 50–69 and ⩾70 years at onset was compared with the risk in those aged <50 years both before and after adjustment for possible age‐related disease confounders.
The prevalences of erosions were 22%, 52% and 71% in those aged <50, 50–69 and ⩾70 years at onset equivalent to odds ratios (ORs) (95% confidence intervals (CIs)) of 3.5 (2.2 to 5.7) and 7.4 (4.5 to 12.1), respectively, in the two older age groups. Excluding those with proximal interphalangeal (PIP) erosions alone (due to possible osteoarthritis) did not alter these findings. Adjustments for disease characteristics using logistic regression did not attenuate these findings: adjusted ORs (95% CIs) 3.6 (2.1 to 6.1) and 6.9 (3.8 to 12.2) for age groups 50–69 and ⩾70 years, respectively. The influence of age was stronger than most of the disease‐related variables in predicting erosions in this cohort.
Increasing age at symptom onset is strongly associated with higher occurrence of erosions within the first year unexplained by greater disease severity.
Utility scores are used to estimate Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs), applied in determining the cost-effectiveness of health care interventions. In studies where no preference based measures are collected, indirect methods have been developed to estimate utilities from clinical instruments. The aim of this study was to evaluate a published method of estimating the EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D) and Short Form-6D (SF-6D) (preference based) utility scores from the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
Data were used from 3 cohorts of patients with: early inflammatory arthritis (<10 weeks duration); established (>5 years duration) stable rheumatoid arthritis (RA); and RA being treated with anti-TNF therapy. Patients completed the EQ-5D, SF-6D and HAQ at baseline and a follow-up assessment. EQ-5D and SF-6D scores were predicted from the HAQ using a published method. Differences between predicted and observed EQ-5D and SF-6D scores were assessed using the paired t-test and linear regression.
Predicted utility scores were generally higher than observed scores (range of differences: EQ-5D 0.01 - 0.06; SF-6D 0.05 - 0.10). Change between predicted values of the EQ-5D and SF-6D corresponded well with observed change in patients with established RA. Change in predicted SF-6D scores was, however, less than half of that in observed values (p < 0.001) in patients with more active disease. Predicted EQ-5D scores underestimated change in cohorts of patients with more active disease.
Predicted utility scores overestimated baseline values but underestimated change. Predicting utility values from the HAQ will therefore likely underestimate the QALYs of interventions, particularly for patients with active disease. We recommend the inclusion of at least one preference based measure in future clinical studies.
Objectives. To evaluate the risk–benefit profile of anti-TNF therapies in PsA and to study the predictors of treatment response and disease remission [disease activity score (DAS)-28 < 2.6].
Methods. The study included PsA patients (n = 596) registered with the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register (BSRBR). Response was assessed using the European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) improvement criteria. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were developed to examine factors associated with EULAR response and disease remission using a range of covariates. Poisson regression was used to calculate incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for serious adverse events (SAEs) vs seronegative RA controls receiving DMARDs, adjusting for age, sex and baseline co-morbidity.
Results. At baseline, the mean (s.d.) DAS-28 was 6.4 (5.6). Of the patients, 70.3% were EULAR responders at 12 months. At 6 months, older patients [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.97 per year; 95% CI 0.95, 0.99], females (adjusted OR 0.51; 95% CI 0.34, 0.78) and patients on corticosteroids (adjusted OR 0.45; 95% CI 0.28, 0.72) were less likely to achieve a EULAR response. Over 1776.2 person-years of follow-up (median 3.07 per person), the IRR of SAEs compared with controls was not increased (0.9; 95% CI 0.8, 1.3).
Conclusions. Anti-TNF therapies have a good response rate in PsA, and have an adverse event profile similar to that seen in a control cohort of patients with seronegative arthritis receiving DMARD therapy.
Psoriatic arthritis; TNF inhibitors; Adalimumab; Etanercept; Infliximab; Efficacy; Risk–benefit; Adverse events
Objective. Few data exist on the use of anti-TNF drugs for AS during routine clinical use in the UK. This report describes an improvement in Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) and Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI) after 6 months of therapy in 261 patients enrolled in a national prospective observational register.
Methods. The British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register (BSRBR) recruited patients starting anti-TNF therapy for AS between 2002 and 2006. Multivariable linear regression models were used to estimate the predictors of absolute improvement in BASDAI and BASFI at 6 months. Covariates included age, gender, disease duration, baseline BASDAI and BASFI, presence of raised inflammatory markers (defined as twice the upper limit of normal) and DMARD therapy.
Results. The cohort was young (median age 43 years) and 82% were males. Median baseline BASDAI was 7.6 and BASFI 7.9. At 6 months, the mean improvements in BASDAI and BASFI were 3.6 and 2.6 U, respectively; 52% reached a BASDAI50. Patients with raised inflammatory markers at the start of therapy had a 0.9-U (95% CI 0.2, 1.5) better improvement in BASDAI compared with those without. Lesser responses were seen in those with higher baseline BASFI scores. Women had a 1.1-U (95% CI 0.3, 2.0) greater improvement in BASFI at 6 months, as did those who were receiving concurrent DMARD therapy [0.9 U (95% CI 0.2, 1.7)].
Conclusions. The majority of patients receiving anti-TNF therapy for AS during routine care demonstrated an improvement in disease activity. Raised inflammatory markers at the start of therapy predicted a greater improvement in BASDAI, identifying a group of patients who may be more responsive to anti-TNF therapies, although the results were not confined to this group.
Anti-TNF; Etanercept; Infliximab; Adalimumab; Ankylosing spondylitis; Treatment response; Treatment effectiveness; Disability
To investigate the influence of early disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) treatment on long-term functional outcome in patients with recent-onset inflammatory polyarthritis (IP), and the impact of the duration of first and subsequent DMARD treatment.
642 subjects from a primary care registry of patients with new-onset IP, recruited 1990–4, were followed up for 10 years. Mean change in Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) scores between baseline and 10 years were compared by time to, and time receiving, first DMARD treatment and total time receiving treatment, using linear regression. Adjustment for time-dependent confounders and censoring was performed using marginal structural weights.
When adjusted for baseline and subsequent disease severity, those treated early (<6 months from symptom onset) experienced a non-significant improvement in function compared with those never treated (adjusted mean difference in change (adj_MDIC) in HAQ −0.24; 95% CI −0.58 to 0.09); and a significant benefit for each additional month of treatment within 6 months of the onset of symptoms (adj_MDIC −0.10; 95% CI −0.19 to −0.02). Patients who discontinued their first DMARD within 6 months experienced a significant deterioration in long-term function (adj_MDIC in HAQ 0.28; 95% CI 0.04 to 0.52), while those who continued their first treatment for > 3 years experienced an improvement (adj_MDIC in HAQ −0.37; 95% CI −0.77 to 0.04).
The importance of time to, and response to, first DMARD treatment and total duration of DMARD treatment in modifying the 10-year function in patients with IP has been demonstrated.