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      The role of concomitant methotrexate dosage and maintenance over time in the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with adalimumab or etanercept: retrospective analysis of a local registry

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          Abstract

          Objective

          To evaluate the pattern of prescription and maintenance over time of concomitant methotrexate (MTX), and its impact on a 2-year clinical response in a cohort of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients treated with a first-line tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitor (TNFi).

          Patients and methods

          The study population included all RA patients receiving adalimumab or etanercept a as first-line biologic drug, extracted from a local registry. Enrolled patients were stratified into 3 subgroups according to baseline concomitant MTX: no MTX, low-dose MTX (≤10 mg/wk), and high-dose MTX (≥12.5 mg/wk). The 2-year persistence of the initial MTX regimen was computed by the Kaplan–Meier method, and a Cox proportional hazard model was developed to examine potential predictors of MTX withdrawal/change of dosage. European League Against Rheumatism remission and good-to-moderate response were evaluated according to baseline MTX regimen and MTX maintenance over time.

          Results

          A total of 330 patients (163 treated with adalimumab and 167 with etanercept) were included; 141 were prescribed TNFi without MTX and 112 received low-dose and 77 high-dose concomitant MTX. Male sex, younger age, and shorter mean disease duration were predictors of high-dose MTX use. Among MTX users (76.2% parenteral and 23.8% oral), initial MTX dose persisted over time in 79.9% at 1 year and 70.2% at 2 years. Fifty-one patients (27%) underwent MTX dose de-escalation/discontinuation because of intolerance/adverse events. The 2-year EULAR remission rate was higher in the patients receiving and maintaining high-dose MTX than in those receiving low-dose or no MTX (46.2% vs 29.5% and 23.4%, respectively; p=0.009). The same was true for good-to-moderate response rate (71.2% vs 52.6% and 50.4%, respectively; p=0.031).

          Conclusion

          In a real-life setting, about one-third of RA patients treated with TNFis experienced dose reduction/discontinuation of concomitant MTX because of intolerance/adverse events over a 2-year follow-up period. Initial high-dose MTX and its maintenance over time are associated with better 2-year clinical response.

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          Most cited references 37

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          The American Rheumatism Association 1987 revised criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis.

          The revised criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were formulated from a computerized analysis of 262 contemporary, consecutively studied patients with RA and 262 control subjects with rheumatic diseases other than RA (non-RA). The new criteria are as follows: 1) morning stiffness in and around joints lasting at least 1 hour before maximal improvement; 2) soft tissue swelling (arthritis) of 3 or more joint areas observed by a physician; 3) swelling (arthritis) of the proximal interphalangeal, metacarpophalangeal, or wrist joints; 4) symmetric swelling (arthritis); 5) rheumatoid nodules; 6) the presence of rheumatoid factor; and 7) radiographic erosions and/or periarticular osteopenia in hand and/or wrist joints. Criteria 1 through 4 must have been present for at least 6 weeks. Rheumatoid arthritis is defined by the presence of 4 or more criteria, and no further qualifications (classic, definite, or probable) or list of exclusions are required. In addition, a "classification tree" schema is presented which performs equally as well as the traditional (4 of 7) format. The new criteria demonstrated 91-94% sensitivity and 89% specificity for RA when compared with non-RA rheumatic disease control subjects.
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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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              Therapeutic effect of the combination of etanercept and methotrexate compared with each treatment alone in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: double-blind randomised controlled trial.

              Etanercept and methotrexate are effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis but no data exist on concurrent initiation or use of the combination compared with either drug alone. We aimed to assess combination treatment with etanercept and methotrexate versus the monotherapies in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In a double-blind, randomised, clinical efficacy, safety, and radiographic study, 686 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis were randomly allocated to treatment with etanercept 25 mg (subcutaneously twice a week), oral methotrexate (up to 20 mg every week), or the combination. Clinical response was assessed by criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). The primary efficacy endpoint was the numeric index of the ACR response (ACR-N) area under the curve (AUC) over the first 24 weeks. The primary radiographic endpoint was change from baseline to week 52 in total joint damage and was assessed with the modified Sharp score. Analysis was by intention to treat. Four patients did not receive any drug; thus 682 were studied. ACR-N AUC at 24 weeks was greater for the combination group compared with etanercept alone and methotrexate alone (18.3%-years [95% CI 17.1-19.6] vs 14.7%-years [13.5-16.0], p<0.0001, and 12.2%-years [11.0-13.4], p<0.0001; respectively). The mean difference in ACR-N AUC between combination and methotrexate alone was 6.1 (95% CI 4.5-7.8, p<0.0001) and between etanercept and methotrexate was 2.5 (0.8-4.2, p=0.0034). The combination was more efficacious than methotrexate or etanercept alone in retardation of joint damage (mean total Sharp score -0.54 [95% CI -1.00 to -0.07] vs 2.80 [1.08 to 4.51], p<0.0001, and 0.52 [-0.10 to 1.15], p=0.0006; respectively). The mean difference in total Sharp score between combination and methotrexate alone was -3.34 (95% CI -4.86 to -1.81, p<0.0001) and between etanercept and methotrexate was -27 (-3.81 to -0.74, p=0.0469). The number of patients reporting infections or adverse events was similar in all groups. The combination of etanercept and methotrexate was significantly better in reduction of disease activity, improvement of functional disability, and retardation of radiographic progression compared with methotrexate or etanercept alone. These findings bring us closer to achievement of remission and repair of structural damage in rheumatoid arthritis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2018
                24 May 2018
                : 12
                : 1421-1429
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Rheumatology, Gaetano Pini Institute, Milan, Italy
                [2 ]Department of Clinical Sciences and Health Community, University of Milan, Division of Rheumatology, Gaetano Pini Institute, Milan, Italy
                [3 ]Pfizer Innovative Health, I&I Medical Affairs, Rome, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Ennio Giulio Favalli, Department of Rheumatology, Gaetano Pini Institute, Milan, Via Gaetano Pini, 9, 20122 Milan, Italy, Tel +39 02 5829 6421, Email ennio.favalli@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                dddt-12-1421
                10.2147/DDDT.S162286
                5973379
                © 2018 Favalli 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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