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1.  Tumour necrosis factor inhibitors versus combination intensive therapy with conventional disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs in established rheumatoid arthritis: TACIT non-inferiority randomised controlled trial 
Objective To determine whether intensive combinations of synthetic disease modifying drugs can achieve similar clinical benefits at lower costs to high cost biologics such as tumour necrosis factor inhibitors in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis resistant to initial methotrexate and other synthetic disease modifying drugs.
Design Open label pragmatic randomised multicentre two arm non-inferiority trial over 12 months.
Setting 24 rheumatology clinics in England.
Participants Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were eligible for treatment with tumour necrosis factor inhibitors according to current English guidance were randomised to either the tumour necrosis factor inhibitor strategy or the combined disease modifying drug strategy.
Interventions Biologic strategy: start tumour necrosis factor inhibitor; second biologic in six month for non-responders. Alternative strategy: start combination of disease modifying drugs; start tumour necrosis factor inhibitors after six months in non-responders.
Main outcome measure Primary outcome: reduction in disability at 12 months measured with patient recorded heath assessment questionnaire (range 0.00-3.00) with a 0.22 non-inferiority margin for combination treatment versus the biologic strategy. Secondary outcomes: quality of life, joint damage, disease activity, adverse events, and costs. Intention to treat analysis used multiple imputation methods for missing data.
Results 432 patients were screened: 107 were randomised to tumour necrosis factor inhibitors and 101 started taking; 107 were randomised to the combined drug strategy and 104 started taking the drugs. Initial assessments were similar; 16 patients were lost to follow-up (seven with the tumour necrosis factor inhibitor strategy, nine with the combined drug strategy); 42 discontinued the intervention but were followed-up (19 and 23, respectively). The primary outcome showed mean falls in scores on the health assessment questionnaire of −0.30 with the tumour necrosis factor inhibitor strategy and −0.45 with the alternative combined drug strategy. The difference between groups in unadjusted linear regression analysis favoured the alternative strategy of combined drugs. The mean difference was −0.14, and the 95% confidence interval (−0.29 to 0.01) was below the prespecified non-inferiority boundary of 0.22. Improvements at 12 months in secondary outcomes, including quality of life and erosive progression, were similar with both strategies. Initial reductions in disease activity were greater with the biologic strategy, but these differences did not persist beyond six months. Remission was seen in 72 patients (44 with biologic strategy; 36 with alternative strategy); 28 patients had serious adverse events (18 and 10, respectively); six and 10 patients, respectively, stopped treatment because of toxicity. The alternative strategy reduced health and social care costs per patient by £3615 (€4930, $5585) for months 0-6 and £1930 for months 6-12.
Conclusions In patients with active rheumatoid arthritis who meet English criteria for biologics an alternative strategy with combinations of intensive synthetic disease modifying drugs gives non-inferior outcomes to treatment with tumour necrosis factor inhibitors. Costs are reduced substantially.
Trial Registration ISRCTN 37438295.
PMCID: PMC4358851  PMID: 25769495
2.  Second-line agents in myositis: 1-year factorial trial of additional immunosuppression in patients who have partially responded to steroids 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2014;54(6):1050-1055.
Objective. Ciclosporin and MTX are used in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (DM and PM) when patients incompletely respond to glucocorticoids. Their effectiveness is unproved in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We evaluated their benefits in a placebo-controlled factorial RCT.
Methods. A 56-week multicentre factorial-design double-blind placebo-controlled RCT compared steroids alone, MTX (15–25 mg weekly) plus steroids, ciclosporin (1–5 mg/kg/day) plus steroids and all three treatments. It enrolled adults with myositis (by Bohan and Peter criteria) with active disease receiving corticosteroids.
Results. A total of 359 patients were screened and 58 randomized. Of the latter, 37 patients completed 12 months of treatment, 7 were lost to follow-up and 14 discontinued treatment. Patients completing 12 months of treatment showed significant improvement (P < 0.001 on paired t-tests) in manual muscle testing (14% change), walking time (22% change) and function (9% change). Intention to treat and completer analyses indicated that ciclosporin monotherapy, MTX monotherapy and ciclosporin/MTX combination therapy showed no significant treatment effects in comparison with placebo.
Conclusion. Neither MTX nor ciclosporin (by themselves or in combination) improved clinical features in myositis patients who had incompletely responded to glucocorticoids.
Trial Registration: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Register;; ISRCTN40085050
PMCID: PMC4476843  PMID: 25433040
myositis and muscle disease; rheumatic diseases; DMARDs therapies; immunosuppressant therapies; clinical trials and methods; basic and clinical sciences; quality of life; psychology and social phenomena
3.  Late HIV diagnosis is a major risk factor for intensive care unit admission in HIV-positive patients: a single centre observational cohort study 
HIV positive patients are at risk of infectious and non-infectious complications that may necessitate intensive care unit (ICU) admission. While the characteristics of patients requiring ICU admission have been described previously, these studies did not include information on the denominator population from which these cases arose.
We conducted an observational cohort study of ICU admissions among 2751 HIV positive patients attending King’s College Hospital, South London, UK. Poisson regression models were used to identify factors associated with ICU admission.
The overall incidence rate of ICU admission was 1.0 [95% CI 0.8, 1.2] per 100 person-years of follow up, and particularly high early (during the first 3 months) following HIV diagnosis (12.4 [8.7, 17.3] per 100 person-years compared to 0.37 [0.27, 0.50] per 100 person-years thereafter; incidence rate ratio 33.5 [23.4, 48.1], p < 0.001). In time-updated analyses, AIDS and current CD4 cell counts of less than 200 cells/mm3 were associated with an increased incidence of ICU admission while receipt of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) was associated with a reduced incidence of ICU admission. Late HIV diagnosis (initial CD4 cell count <350 or AIDS within 3 months of HIV diagnosis) applied to 81% of patients who were first diagnosed HIV positive during the study period and who required ICU admission. Late HIV diagnosis was significantly associated with ICU admission in the first 3 months following HIV diagnosis (adjusted incidence rate ratio 8.72, 95% CI 2.76, 27.5).
Late HIV diagnosis was a major risk factor for early ICU admission in our cohort. Earlier HIV diagnosis allowing cART initiation at CD4 cell counts of 350 cells/mm3 is likely to have a significant impact on the need for ICU care.
PMCID: PMC3553027  PMID: 23331544
ICU; Intensive care; HIV; Antiretroviral therapy; cART; Immunodeficiency; Late
4.  Baseline Kidney Function as Predictor of Mortality and Kidney Disease Progression in HIV-Positive Patients 
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with increased all-cause mortality and kidney disease progression. Decreased kidney function at baseline may identify human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients at increased risk of death and kidney disease progression.
Study Design
Observational cohort study.
Setting & Participants
7 large HIV cohorts in the United Kingdom with kidney function data available for 20,132 patients.
Baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).
Death and progression to stages 4-5 CKD (eGFR <30 mL/min/1.73 m2 for >3 months) in Cox proportional hazards and competing-risk regression models.
Median age at baseline was 34 (25th-75th percentile, 30-40) years, median CD4 cell count was 350 (25th-75th percentile, 208-520) cells/μL, and median eGFR was 100 (25th-75th percentile, 87-112) mL/min/1.73 m2. Patients were followed up for a median of 5.3 (25th-75th percentile, 2.0-8.9) years, during which 1,820 died and 56 progressed to stages 4-5 CKD. A U-shaped relationship between baseline eGFR and mortality was observed. After adjustment for potential confounders, eGFRs <45 and >105 mL/min/1.73 m2 remained associated significantly with increased risk of death. Baseline eGFR <90 mL/min/1.73 m2 was associated with increased risk of kidney disease progression, with the highest incidence rates of stages 4-5 CKD (>3 events/100 person-years) observed in black patients with eGFR of 30-59 mL/min/1.73 m2 and those of white/other ethnicity with eGFR of 30-44 mL/min/1.73 m2.
The relatively small numbers of patients with decreased eGFR at baseline and low rates of progression to stages 4-5 CKD and lack of data for diabetes, hypertension, and proteinuria.
Although stages 4-5 CKD were uncommon in this cohort, baseline eGFR allowed the identification of patients at increased risk of death and at greatest risk of kidney disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3657190  PMID: 22521282
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR); Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI); human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); chronic kidney disease; mortality; competing risk
5.  Total protein, albumin and low-molecular-weight protein excretion in HIV-positive patients 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:85.
Chronic kidney disease is common in HIV positive patients and renal tubular dysfunction has been reported in those receiving combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Tenofovir (TFV) in particular has been linked to severe renal tubular disease as well as proximal tubular dysfunction. Markedly elevated urinary concentrations of retinal-binding protein (RBP) have been reported in patients with severe renal tubular disease, and low-molecular-weight proteins (LMWP) such as RBP may be useful in clinical practice to assess renal tubular function in patients receiving TFV. We analysed 3 LMWP as well as protein and albumin in the urine of a sample of HIV positive patients.
In a cross-sectional fashion, total protein, albumin, RBP, cystatin C, and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) were quantified in random urine samples of 317 HIV positive outpatients and expressed as the ratio-to-creatinine (RBPCR, CCR and NGALCR). Exposure to cART was categorised as none, cART without TFV, and cART containing TFV and a non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase-inhibitor (TFV/NNRTI) or TFV and a protease-inhibitor (TFV/PI).
Proteinuria was present in 10.4 % and microalbuminuria in 16.7 % of patients. Albumin accounted for approximately 10 % of total urinary protein. RBPCR was within the reference range in 95 % of patients while NGALCR was elevated in 67 % of patients. No overall differences in urine protein, albumin, and LMWP levels were observed among patients stratified by cART exposure, although a greater proportion of patients exposed to TFV/PI had RBPCR >38.8 μg/mmol (343 μg/g) (p = 0.003). In multivariate analyses, black ethnicity (OR 0.43, 95 % CI 0.24, 0.77) and eGFR <75 mL/min/1.73 m2 (OR 3.54, 95 % CI 1.61, 7.80) were independently associated with upper quartile (UQ) RBPCR. RBPCR correlated well to CCR (r2 = 0.71), but not to NGALCR, PCR or ACR.
In HIV positive patients, proteinuria was predominantly of tubular origin and microalbuminuria was common. RBPCR in patients without overt renal tubular disease was generally within the reference range, including those receiving TFV. RBP therefore appears a promising biomarker for monitoring renal tubular function in patients receiving TFV and for distinguishing patients with normal tubular function or mild tubular dysfunction from those with severe renal tubular disease or Fanconi syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3444380  PMID: 22883485
Proteinuria; Albuminuria; Retinol-binding protein; RBP; Cystatin C; Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin; NGAL; Tenofovir; HIV
6.  A randomized placebo-controlled trial of methotrexate in psoriatic arthritis 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2012;51(8):1368-1377.
Objective. MTX is widely used to treat synovitis in PsA without supporting trial evidence. The aim of our study was to test the value of MTX in the first large randomized placebo-controlled trial (RCT) in PsA.
Methods. A 6-month double-blind RCT compared MTX (15 mg/week) with placebo in active PsA. The primary outcome was PsA response criteria (PsARC). Other outcomes included ACR20, DAS-28 and their individual components. Missing data were imputed using multiple imputation methods. Treatments were compared using logistic regression analysis (adjusted for age, sex, disease duration and, where appropriate, individual baseline scores).
Results. Four hundred and sixty-two patients were screened and 221 recruited. One hundred and nine patients received MTX and 112 received placebo. Forty-four patients were lost to follow-up (21 MTX, 23 placebo). Twenty-six patients discontinued treatment (14 MTX, 12 placebo). Comparing MTX with placebo in all randomized patients at 6 months showed no significant effect on PsARC [odds ratio (OR) 1.77, 95% CI 0.97, 3.23], ACR20 (OR 2.00, 95% CI 0.65, 6.22) or DAS-28 (OR 1.70, 95% CI 0.90, 3.17). There were also no significant treatment effects on tender and swollen joint counts, ESR, CRP, HAQ and pain. The only benefits of MTX were reductions in patient and assessor global scores and skin scores at 6 months (P = 0.03, P < 0.001 and P = 0.02, respectively). There were no unexpected adverse events.
Conclusions. This trial of active PsA found no evidence for MTX improving synovitis and consequently raises questions about its classification as a disease-modifying drug in PsA.
Trial registration. Current Controlled Trials,, ISRCTN:54376151.
PMCID: PMC3397466  PMID: 22344575
psoriatic arthritis; methotrexate; placebo; randomized controlled trial
7.  Short echo time proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in Alzheimer's disease: a longitudinal multiple time point study 
Brain  2010;133(11):3315-3322.
Short echo time localized proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy provides quantification of brain metabolites, including N-acetyl-aspartate, myo-inositol, creatine/phosphocreatine and choline-containing compounds, which may be useful biomarkers for monitoring Alzheimer's disease. We aimed to quantify the rate of metabolite change in Alzheimer's disease, to assess factors influencing changes and to investigate the potential for serial magnetic resonance spectroscopy as an Alzheimer's disease trial biomarker. A total of 42 patients and 22 controls each had up to six magnetic resonance spectroscopy examinations over a 2-year period, using a midline posterior cingulate single-voxel point resolved spectroscopy sequence (1.5 T; time to repetition = 2000 ms; echo time = 30 ms; 192 averages). Metabolite ratios N-acetyl-aspartate:creatine/phosphocreatine, choline-containing compounds:creatine/phosphocreatine, and myo-inositol:creatine/phosphocreatine were measured using online software (PROBE-Q) and the N-acetyl-aspartate:myo-inositol ratio was derived. Baseline ratios were compared between patients and controls. A linear mixed model was used to quantify longitudinal changes and extended to assess the effect of age, disease severity and baseline use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Patients and controls were matched for age (patients: 68.9 ± 7.2 years; controls: 69.1 ± 6.7 years); 71% of the patients were on acetylcholinesterase inhibitors at baseline; mean Mini-Mental State Examination for patients was 19.4 ± 4.1. A total of 307 spectra were acquired. In cross-sectional analyses, patients were significantly different from controls for N-acetyl-aspartate:creatine/phosphocreatine (11% lower, P < 0.001), N-acetyl-aspartate:myo-inositol (24% lower, P < 0.001), and myo-inositol:creatine/phosphocreatine (17% higher, P < 0.001). After adjustment for N-acetyl-aspartate:myo-inositol, none of the other variables differed significantly. In patients there was significant decline in N-acetyl-aspartate:creatine/phosphocreatine (mean: 2.2%/year; 95% confidence interval: 0.9–3.5) and N-acetyl-aspartate:myo-inositol (mean: 3.7%/year; 95% confidence interval: 1.7–5.7), with no evidence for influence by age, disease severity or acetylcholinesterase inhibitor use. There was significant excess decline in patients compared with controls only in N-acetyl-aspartate:myo-inositol (mean: 3.6%/year; 95% confidence interval: 0.8–6.4; P = 0.014). Between-subject standard deviation for N-acetyl-aspartate:myo-inositol was 0% for controls and 3.5%/year for patients; within-subject standard deviation for a 1 year, two-time-point study was 9.2%/year for both patients and controls. These results confirm that magnetic resonance spectroscopy can be used to quantify excess metabolite decline in Alzheimer's disease, which may provide a useful measure of disease progression. We found no evidence that age, disease severity or acetylcholinesterase inhibitor use influenced rate of decline, although numbers were small. The substantial variability in longitudinal measurements that drives sample size requirements is principally within-subject and technique related: technical developments to reduce this variability may make serial magnetic resonance spectroscopy a viable biomarker in clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC2965422  PMID: 20739347
Alzheimer's disease; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; clinical trial design
8.  High rate of loss to clinical follow up among African HIV-infected patients attending a London clinic: a retrospective analysis of a clinical cohort 
Long-term regular clinic follow up is an important component of HIV care. We determined the frequency and characteristics of HIV-infected patients lost to follow up from a London HIV clinic, and factors associated with loss to all HIV follow up in the UK.
We identified 1859 HIV-infected adults who had registered and attended a London clinic on one or more occasions between January 1997 and December 2005. Loss to follow up was defined as clinic non-attendance for one or more years. Through anonymized linkage with the Survey of Prevalent HIV Infections Diagnosed and Health Protection Scotland, national databases of all HIV patients in care in the UK up to December 2006, loss-to-follow-up patients were categorized as Transfers (subsequently received care at another UK HIV clinic) or UKLFU (no record of subsequent attendance at any HIV clinic in the UK). Logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with UKLFU for those both on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and not on HAART.
In total, 722 (38.8%) of 1859 patients were defined as lost to follow up. Of these, 347 (48.1%) were Transfers and 375 (51.9%), or 20.2% of all patients, were UKLFU. Overall, 11.9% of all patients receiving HAART, and 32.2% not receiving HAART were UKLFU. Among those on HAART, risk factors for UKLFU were: African heterosexual female (OR = 2.22, 95% CI: 1.11-4.56) versus white men who have sex with men; earlier year of HIV clinic registration (1997-1999 OR: 3.51, 95% CI: 1.97-6.26; 2000-02 OR: 2.49, 95% CI: 1.43-4.32 vs. 2003-2005); CD4 count of < 200 versus > 350 cells/mm3 (OR = 1.99, 95% CI:1.05-3.74); and a detectable viral load of > 400 copies/ml (OR = 5.03, 95% CI: 2.95-8.57 vs. ≤ 400 copies/ml) at last clinic visit.
Among those not receiving HAART, factors were: African heterosexual male (OR = 3.91, 95% CI: 1.77-8.64) versus white men who have sex with men; earlier HIV clinic registration (2000-2002 OR: 2.91, 95% CI: 1.77-4.78; 1997-1999: OR: 5.26, 95% CI: 2.71-10.19); and a CD4 count of < 200 cells/mm3 (OR: 3.24, 95% CI: 1.49-7.04).
One in five HIV-infected patients (one in three not on HAART and one in nine on HAART) from a London clinic were lost to all clinical follow up in the UK. Black African ethnicity, earlier year of clinic registration and advanced immunological suppression were the most important predictors of UKLFU. There is a need for all HIV clinics to establish systems for monitoring and tracing loss-to-follow-up patients, and to implement strategies for improving retention in care.
PMCID: PMC2924265  PMID: 20684760
9.  Sub-optimal CD4 reconstitution despite viral suppression in an urban cohort on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa: Frequency and clinical significance 
A proportion of individuals who start antiretroviral therapy (ART) fail to achieve adequate CD4 cell reconstitution despite sustained viral suppression. We determined the frequency and clinical significance of suboptimal CD4 reconstitution despite viral suppression (SO-CD4) in an urban HIV research cohort in Kampala, Uganda
We analyzed data from a prospective research cohort of 559 patients initiating ART between 04/04–04/05. We described the patterns of SO-CD4 both in terms of:- I) magnitude of CD4 cell increase (a CD4 count increase < 50 CD4 cells/μl at 6 months, <100 cells/μl at 12 months; and <200 cells/μl at 24 months of ART) and II) failure to achieve a CD4 cell count above 200 cells/μl at 6,12 and 24 months of ART. Using criteria I) we used logistic regression to determine the predictors of SO-CD4. We compared the cumulative risk of clinical events (death and/or recurrent or new AIDS-defining illnesses) among patients with and without SO-CD4.
Of 559 patients initiating ART, 386 (69%) were female. Median (IQR) age and baseline CD4 counts were 38 yrs (33–44) and 98 cells/μl (21–163) respectively; 414 (74%) started a d4T-based regimen (D4T+3TC+NVP) and 145 (26%) a ZDV-based regimen (ZDV+3TC+EFV). After 6, 12 and 24 months of ART, 380 (68%), 339 (61%) and 309 (55%) had attained and sustained HIV-RNA viral suppression. Of these, 78 (21%), 151 (45%) and 166 (54%) respectively had SO-CD4 based on criteria I), and 165(43%), 143(42%) and 58(19%) respectively based on criteria II). With both criteria combined, 56 (15%) and 129 (38%) had SO-CD4 at 6 and 12 months respectively. A high proportion (82% and 58%) of those that had SO-CD4 at 6 months (using criteria I) maintained SO-CD4 at 12 and 24 months respectively. There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence of clinical events among patients with [19/100PYO (12–29)] and without SO-CD4 [23/100PYO (19–28)].
Using criteria I), the frequency of SO-CD4 was 21% at 6 months. Majority of patients with SO-CD4 at 6 months maintained SO-CD4 up to 2 years. We recommend studies of CD4 T-cell functional recovery among patients with SO-CD4.
PMCID: PMC2605744  PMID: 18957083
10.  Opportunistic and systematic screening for chlamydia: a study of consultations by young adults in general practice 
Opportunistic screening for genital chlamydia infection is being introduced in England, but evidence for the effectiveness of this approach is lacking. There are insufficient data about young peoples' use of primary care services to determine the potential coverage of opportunistic screening in comparison with a systematic population-based approach.
To estimate use of primary care services by young men and women; to compare potential coverage of opportunistic chlamydia screening with a systematic postal approach.
Design of study
Population based cross-sectional study.
Twenty-seven general practices around Bristol and Birmingham.
A random sample of patients aged 16–24 years were posted a chlamydia screening pack. We collected details of face-to-face consultations from general practice records. Survival and person-time methods were used to estimate the cumulative probability of attending general practice in 1 year and the coverage achieved by opportunistic and systematic postal chlamydia screening.
Of 12 973 eligible patients, an estimated 60.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 58.3 to 62.5%) of men and 75.3% (73.7 to 76.9%) of women aged 16–24 years attended their practice at least once in a 1-year period. During this period, an estimated 21.3% of patients would not attend their general practice but would be reached by postal screening, 9.2% would not receive a postal invitation but would attend their practice, and 11.8% would be missed by both methods.
Opportunistic and population-based approaches to chlamydia screening would both fail to contact a substantial minority of the target group, if used alone. A pragmatic approach combining both strategies might achieve higher coverage.
PMCID: PMC1828253  PMID: 16464322
chlamydia trachomatis; family practice; mass screening; primary health care
11.  HIV in East London: ethnicity, gender and risk. Design and methods 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:150.
While men who have sex with men remain the group at greatest risk of acquiring HIV infection in the UK, the number of new diagnoses among heterosexuals has risen steadily over the last five years. In the UK, three-quarters of heterosexual men and women diagnosed with HIV in 2004 probably acquired their infection in Africa. This changing epidemiological pattern is particularly pronounced in East London because of its ethnically diverse population.
Design and methods
The objective of the study was to examine the social, economic and behavioural characteristics of patients with HIV infection currently receiving treatment and care in hospitals in East London. The research focused on ethnicity, gender, sexuality, education, employment, housing, HIV treatment, stigma, discrimination, religion, migration and sexual risk behaviour. People diagnosed with HIV infection attending outpatient treatment clinics at St Bartholomew's, the Royal London, Whipp's Cross, Homerton, Newham and Barking hospitals (all in East London) over a 4–6 month period were invited to participate in the study in 2004–2005. Those who agreed to participate completed a confidential, self-administered pen-and-paper questionnaire. During the study period, 2680 patients with HIV attended the outpatient clinics in the six participating hospitals, of whom 2299 were eligible for the study and 1687 completed a questionnaire. The response rate was 73% of eligible patients and 63% of all patients attending the clinics during the survey period.
A clinic-based study has allowed us to survey nearly 1700 patients with HIV from diverse backgrounds receiving treatment and care in East London. The data collected in this study will provide valuable information for the planning and delivery of appropriate clinical care, social support and health promotion for people living with HIV not only in East London but in other parts of the capital as well as elsewhere in the UK.
PMCID: PMC1524742  PMID: 16764715

Results 1-11 (11)