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      Early intervention in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: focus on tocilizumab

      Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management

      Dove Medical Press

      rheumatoid arthritis, early intervention, tocilizumab

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          Abstract

          Tocilizumab is a fully humanized monoclonal antibody against interleukin-6 receptors that was approved for the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Several lines of evidence, obtained both from conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, have supported the concept of “window of opportunity” as showing that these therapies consistently work better in early disease as compared to established RA. This review addresses the question of whether a window of opportunity gained with conventional DMARDs and TNF inhibitors can also be achieved with tocilizumab. To this end, data regarding the use of tocilizumab in early RA patients are summarized. Currently available data suggest that the earlier the treatment with tocilizumab, the better the clinical outcome can be, which may have implications for various aspects of RA treatment strategies.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Effect of interleukin-6 receptor inhibition with tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (OPTION study): a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial.

          Interleukin 6 is involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis via its broad effects on immune and inflammatory responses. Our aim was to assess the therapeutic effects of blocking interleukin 6 by inhibition of the interleukin-6 receptor with tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In this double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel group phase III study, 623 patients with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis were randomly assigned with an interactive voice response system, stratified by site with a randomisation list provided by the study sponsor, to receive tocilizumab 8 mg/kg (n=205), tocilizumab 4 mg/kg (214), or placebo (204) intravenously every 4 weeks, with methotrexate at stable pre-study doses (10-25 mg/week). Rescue therapy with tocilizumab 8 mg/kg was offered at week 16 to patients with less than 20% improvement in both swollen and tender joint counts. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with 20% improvement in signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis according to American College of Rheumatology criteria (ACR20 response) at week 24. Analyses were by intention to treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00106548. The intention-to-treat analysis population consisted of 622 patients: one patient in the 4 mg/kg group did not receive study treatment and was thus excluded. At 24 weeks, ACR20 responses were seen in more patients receiving tocilizumab than in those receiving placebo (120 [59%] patients in the 8 mg/kg group, 102 [48%] in the 4 mg/kg group, 54 [26%] in the placebo group; odds ratio 4.0 [95% CI 2.6-6.1], p<0.0001 for 8 mg/kg vs placebo; and 2.6 [1.7-3.9], p<0.0001 for 4 mg/kg vs placebo). More people receiving tocilizumab than those receiving placebo had at least one adverse event (143 [69%] in the 8 mg/kg group; 151 [71%] in the 4 mg/kg group; 129 [63%] in the placebo group). The most common serious adverse events were serious infections or infestations, reported by six patients in the 8 mg/kg group, three in the 4 mg/kg group, and two in the placebo group. Tocilizumab could be an effective therapeutic approach in patients with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis. F Hoffmann-La Roche, Chugai Pharmaceutical.
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            The PREMIER study: A multicenter, randomized, double-blind clinical trial of combination therapy with adalimumab plus methotrexate versus methotrexate alone or adalimumab alone in patients with early, aggressive rheumatoid arthritis who had not had previous methotrexate treatment.

            To compare the efficacy and safety of adalimumab plus methotrexate (MTX) versus MTX monotherapy or adalimumab monotherapy in patients with early, aggressive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who had not previously received MTX treatment. This was a 2-year, multicenter, double-blind, active comparator-controlled study of 799 RA patients with active disease of < 3 years' duration who had never been treated with MTX. Treatments included adalimumab 40 mg subcutaneously every other week plus oral MTX, adalimumab 40 mg subcutaneously every other week, or weekly oral MTX. Co-primary end points at year 1 were American College of Rheumatology 50% improvement (ACR50) and mean change from baseline in the modified total Sharp score. Combination therapy was superior to both MTX and adalimumab monotherapy in all outcomes measured. At year 1, more patients receiving combination therapy exhibited an ACR50 response (62%) than did patients who received MTX or adalimumab monotherapy (46% and 41%, respectively; both P < 0.001). Similar superiority of combination therapy was seen in ACR20, ACR70, and ACR90 response rates at 1 and 2 years. There was significantly less radiographic progression (P < or = 0.002) among patients in the combination treatment arm at both year 1 and year 2 (1.3 and 1.9 Sharp units, respectively) than in patients in the MTX arm (5.7 and 10.4 Sharp units) or the adalimumab arm (3.0 and 5.5 Sharp units). After 2 years of treatment, 49% of patients receiving combination therapy exhibited disease remission (28-joint Disease Activity Score <2.6), and 49% exhibited a major clinical response (ACR70 response for at least 6 continuous months), rates approximately twice those found among patients receiving either monotherapy. The adverse event profiles were comparable in all 3 groups. In this population of patients with early, aggressive RA, combination therapy with adalimumab plus MTX was significantly superior to either MTX alone or adalimumab alone in improving signs and symptoms of disease, inhibiting radiographic progression, and effecting clinical remission.
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              Interleukin-6 receptor inhibition with tocilizumab reduces disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis with inadequate response to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs: the tocilizumab in combination with traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drug therapy study.

              To examine the efficacy and safety of the humanized anti-interleukin-6 receptor antibody tocilizumab combined with conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A total of 1,220 patients were randomized (2:1 ratio) in the phase III, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter TOWARD (Tocilizumab in Combination With Traditional DMARD Therapy) study. Patients remained on stable doses of DMARDs and received tocilizumab 8 mg/kg or placebo (control group) every 4 weeks for 24 weeks. At week 24, the proportion of patients achieving a response according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria for 20% improvement (ACR20) was significantly greater in the tocilizumab plus DMARD group than in the control group (61% versus 25%; P or=1 adverse event (AE), compared with 61% of patients in the control group. AEs leading to withdrawal from the study were infrequent (4% of patients in the tocilizumab group and 2% of those in the control group). Serious AEs occurred in 6.7% and 4.3% of patients in the tocilizumab and control groups, respectively, and serious infections occurred in 2.7% and 1.9%, respectively. Elevations in the alanine aminotransferase level, from normal at baseline to >3-fold the upper limit of normal, occurred in 4% of patients in the tocilizumab group and 1% of those in the control group, and elevated total cholesterol levels were observed in 23% and 6% of patients, respectively. Sixteen patients started lipid-lowering therapy during the study. Grade 3 neutropenia occurred in 3.7% of patients receiving tocilizumab and none of the patients in the control group, and no grade 4 neutropenia was reported. Tocilizumab combined with any of the DMARDs evaluated was safe and effective in reducing articular and systemic symptoms in patients with an inadequate response to these agents.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                24179334
                10.2147/TCRM.S35784
                3810895

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

                Medicine

                rheumatoid arthritis, early intervention, tocilizumab

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