Etanercept and adalimumab treatment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthropathies in clinical practice: adverse events and other reasons leading to discontinuation of the treatment

Tiina Levälampi, Markku Korpela, Katriina Vuolteenaho, Eeva Moilanen
Rheumatology International 2008, 28 (3): 261-9
In the present study, we determined from a single-center data the treatment continuation, discontinuation and reasons for discontinuation in the patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or spondyloarthropathies (SpA) who were treated with etanercept or adalimumab. All RA and SpA patients, who were treated with etanercept (n = 53) or adalimumab (n = 43) as their first biological treatment according to national guidelines in the Center for Rheumatic Diseases, Tampere University Hospital during the years 1999-2005, were analyzed at baseline and after 1-year treatment. The treatment was regarded ineffective if the clinical response was lower than ACR50 in RA or the reduction of BASDAI was lower than 50% or 2 cm in SpA. After 1 year, the continuation rate was 74% with etanercept and 60% with adalimumab. Mean prednisolone dose among continuers was diminished by 52% in etanercept-treated patients and by 44% in adalimumab-treated patients. During 1-year follow-up, 14 (26%) of the etanercept-treated patients and 17 (40%) of the adalimumab-treated patients discontinued the medication. Eleven patients were regarded as poor responders, seven in etanercept group and four in adalimumab group. Adverse events (mainly infections and injection reactions) caused six discontinuations in etanercept-treated group and 11 discontinuations in adalimumab-treated group. Etanercept was discontinued due to other adverse event in two patients: in one patient due to adenocarcinoma of ovary and in one patient due to drug-related leukopenia. One patient treated with adalimumab developed clinical and immunological features of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In the present study, etanercept and adalimumab treatments were started in patients who had active RA or SpA despite ongoing treatment with combinations of traditional disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Thirty-nine (74%) patients and twenty-six (60%) patients achieved at least 50% response when etanercept or adalimumab was added to their earlier DMARD treatment. Adverse events (mainly infections and injection reactions) were in line with previous reports. Three rare adverse events were reported: one patient with ovarial carcinoma, one with leukopenia and one with features of drug-induced SLE.

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