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      Personalization of biologic therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: less frequently accounted choice-driving variables

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          To propose appropriate statements that drive the choice of biologic therapies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), factoring in their impact on the following issues: anti-drug antibody (ADAb) formation, suspicion and management of infections, lupus-like syndrome (LLS), effects on bone mass and sexual sphere, and relationship between RA and periodontal disease (PD).


          An overview of existing evidence was undertaken by an expert panel on behalf of the Italian board for the TAilored BIOlogic therapy (ITABIO). Data were extracted from controlled trials, national registries, national health care databases, post-marketing surveys, and, when required by the paucity of controlled studies, from open-label clinical series. Anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) and non-anti-TNF-targeted biologics approved for RA were investigated.


          ADAb formation is chiefly associated with anti-TNFs, and it is reduced by combination therapy with methotrexate. To date, ADAb titration is not advisable for clinical practice, and, in case of anti-TNF secondary failure, a non-anti-TNF biologic is indicated. LLS is observed in anti-TNF receivers and, in most cases, resolves without anti-TNF withdrawal. A non-anti-TNF biologic is advisable in patients experiencing LLS. Non-anti-TNFs demonstrated a low or absent infection risk and are preferable in patients with comorbidities. Due to their positive effects on bone mass, anti-TNFs are indicated in women at osteoporosis risk, whereas non-anti-TNF have been poorly investigated. The emerging evidence of the relationship between RA and PD and the effects on anti-TNF efficacy should lead clinicians to consider the periodontal status in RA patients. Anti-TNFs may exert a positive effect on fertility and sexuality, and clinicians should explore these aspects in RA patients.


          The optimization of biologic therapies by taking into proper account the above issues would improve patient outcomes.

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          Periodontal disease and the oral microbiota in new-onset rheumatoid arthritis.

          To profile the abundance and diversity of subgingival oral microbiota in patients with never-treated, new-onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Periodontal disease (PD) status, clinical activity, and sociodemographic factors were determined in patients with new-onset RA, patients with chronic RA, and healthy subjects. Multiplexed-454 pyrosequencing was used to compare the composition of subgingival microbiota and establish correlations between the presence/abundance of bacteria and disease phenotypes. Anti-Porphyromonas gingivalis antibody testing was performed to assess prior exposure to the bacterial pathogen P gingivalis. The more advanced forms of periodontitis were already present at disease onset in patients with new-onset RA. The subgingival microbiota observed in patients with new-onset RA was distinct from that found in healthy controls. In most cases, however, these microbial differences could be attributed to the severity of PD and were not inherent to RA. The presence and abundance of P gingivalis were also directly associated with the severity of PD and were not unique to RA. The presence of P gingivalis was not correlated with anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) titers. Overall exposure to P gingivalis was similar between patients with new-onset RA and controls, observed in 78% of patients and 83% of controls. The presence and abundance of Anaeroglobus geminatus correlated with the presence of ACPAs/rheumatoid factor. Prevotella and Leptotrichia species were the only characteristic taxa observed in patients with new-onset RA irrespective of PD status. Patients with new-onset RA exhibited a high prevalence of PD at disease onset, despite their young age and paucity of smoking history. The subgingival microbiota profile in patients with new-onset RA was similar to that in patients with chronic RA and healthy subjects whose PD was of comparable severity. Although colonization with P gingivalis correlated with the severity of PD, overall exposure to P gingivalis was similar among the groups. The role of A geminatus and Prevotella/Leptotrichia species in this process merits further study. Copyright © 2012 by the American College of Rheumatology.
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            Risk of herpes zoster in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with anti-TNF-alpha agents.

            The risk of bacterial infection is increased in patients treated with drugs that inhibit tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). Little is known about the reactivation of latent viral infections during treatment with TNF-alpha inhibitors. To investigate whether TNF-alpha inhibitors together as a class, or separately as either monoclonal anti-TNF-alpha antibodies (adalimumab, infliximab) or a fusion protein (etanercept), are related to higher rates of herpes zoster in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Patients were enrolled in the German biologics register RABBIT, a prospective cohort, between May 2001 and December 2006 at the initiation of treatment with infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab, or anakinra, or when they changed conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). Treatment, clinical status, and adverse events were assessed by rheumatologists at fixed points during follow-up. Hazard ratio (HR) of herpes zoster episodes following anti-TNF-alpha treatment. Study aims were to detect a clinically significant difference (HR, 2.0) between TNF-alpha inhibitors as a class compared with DMARDs and to detect an HR of at least 2.5 for each of 2 types of TNF-alpha inhibitors, the monoclonal antibodies or the fusion protein, compared with conventional DMARDs. Among 5040 patients receiving TNF-alpha inhibitors or conventional DMARDs, 86 episodes of herpes zoster occurred in 82 patients. Thirty-nine occurrences could be attributed to treatment with anti-TNF-alpha antibodies, 23 to etanercept, and 24 to conventional DMARDs. The crude incidence rate per 1000 patient-years was 11.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.9-15.1) for the monoclonal antibodies, 8.9 (95% CI, 5.6-13.3) for etanercept, and 5.6 (95% CI, 3.6-8.3) for conventional DMARDs. Adjusted for age, rheumatoid arthritis severity, and glucocorticoid use, a significantly increased risk was observed for treatment with the monoclonal antibodies (HR, 1.82 [95% CI, 1.05-3.15]), although this risk was lower than the threshold for clinical significance. No significant associations were found for etanercept use (HR, 1.36 [95% CI, 0.73-2.55]) or for anti-TNF-alpha treatment (HR, 1.63 [95% CI, 0.97-2.74]) as a class. Treatment with monoclonal anti-TNF-alpha antibodies may be associated with increased risk of herpes zoster, but this requires further study.
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              Relationship between rheumatoid arthritis and periodontitis.

              Because of several similar features in the pathobiology of periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis, in a previous study we proposed a possible relationship between the two diseases. Therefore, the aims of this study were to study a population of rheumatoid arthritis patients and determine the extent of their periodontal disease and correlate this with various indicators of rheumatoid arthritis. Sixty-five consecutive patients attending a rheumatology clinic were examined for their levels of periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis. A control group consisted of age- and gender-matched individuals without rheumatoid arthritis. Specific measures for periodontitis included probing depths, attachment loss, bleeding scores, plaque scores, and radiographic bone loss scores. Measures of rheumatoid arthritis included tender joint analysis, swollen joint analysis, pain index, physician's global assessment on a visual analogue scale, health assessment questionnaire, levels of C-reactive protein, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The relationship between periodontal bone loss and rheumatological findings as well as the relationship between bone loss in the rheumatoid arthritis and control groups were analyzed. No differences were noted for the plaque and bleeding indices between the control and rheumatoid arthritis groups. The rheumatoid arthritis group did, however, have more missing teeth than the control group and a higher percentage of these subjects had deeper pocketing. When the percentage of bone loss was compared with various indicators of rheumatoid arthritis disease activity, it was found that swollen joints, health assessment questionnaire scores, levels of C-reactive protein, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate were the principal parameters which could be associated with periodontal bone loss. The results of this study provide further evidence of a significant association between periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis. This association may be a reflection of a common underlying disregulation of the inflammatory response in these individuals.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                24 October 2018
                : 14
                : 2097-2111
                [1 ]Department of Rheumatology, Hospital of Prato, Prato, Italy, fbrzcantini@ 123456gmail.com
                [2 ]Section of Pharmacology and Pharmacovigilance, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
                [3 ]Division of Rheumatology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
                [4 ]Translational Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preclinical Research, National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Rome, Italy
                [5 ]Rheumatology Unit, Hospital S. Giovanni di Dio, Florence, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Fabrizio Cantini, Rheumatology Division, Hospital of Prato, Piazza Ospedale, 1, 59100 Prato, Italy, Tel +39 574 80 7578, Email fbrzcantini@ 123456gmail.com
                © 2018 Niccoli et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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