Clinical impact of switching from infliximab to etanercept in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Karin Laas, Ritva Peltomaa, Hannu Kautiainen, Marjatta Leirisalo-Repo
Clinical Rheumatology 2008, 27 (7): 927-32
We assessed the disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) after switching from infliximab to etanercept according to the reason of infliximab discontinuation. At Helsinki University Central Hospital during the period 1999 to 2003, 49 patients with RA were switched from infliximab to etanercept. The reasons for infliximab discontinuation were: 42% for failure to respond by >American College of Rheumatology 50% criteria; 12% for adverse events; 46% responded to infliximab and were switched for non-medical reasons. Clinical outcome after the switch was compared between the groups according to the reason of infliximab discontinuation. Disease activity was measured with the 28-joint count Disease Activity Score (DAS28). In patients in the non-medical reasons group, the disease activity was suppressed effectively both during infliximab and etanercept. Furthermore, the one-year drug survival of etanercept in this group was the highest of 77% (95% confidence interval (CI), 62 to 97) among the three groups. In patients in the infliximab failure and adverse event groups, DAS28 values improved significantly during etanercept therapy. The 1-year drug survival of etanercept was 43% (95% CI, 26 to 70) and 50% (95% CI, 33 to 100), respectively. For RA patients who discontinued taking infliximab because of non-medical reasons experienced similar treatment efficacy during both biological agents. The treatment with etanercept provided sufficient disease control also for patients with infliximab failure or adverse event. Therefore, etanercept can be suggested when infliximab has failed or discontinued for other reasons.

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