Etanercept in combination with conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis patients intolerant to methotrexate

Yoshinobu Koyama, Hirokazu Shiraishi, Toshiyuki Ohta, Ayumi Uchino
Modern Rheumatology 2012, 22 (1): 100-8
Although etanercept (ETN) is effective when used in monotherapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ETN/methotrexate (MTX) combination therapy is more efficacious. However, some patients show MTX intolerance; these patients may develop adverse events (AEs) or have risk factors for AEs. There is limited published information regarding the efficacy of combination therapy involving ETN and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs other than MTX. Therefore, we evaluated the effects of combination therapy with ETN and salazosulfapyridine (SASP) and/or bucillamine (Bc), a D: -penicillamine analogue, in MTX-intolerant RA patients. Indices of RA activity, including disease activity score in 28 joints (DAS28), were retrospectively analyzed over a 48-week period in 66 patients treated with ETN. Treatment efficacy was compared in the following 4 major treatment groups: ETN monotherapy, ETN + MTX, ETN + SASP, and ETN + SASP + Bc. Although intergroup differences in the percent change of DAS were not statistically significant, ETN + SASP + Bc seemed to be more effective than ETN monotherapy, and the efficacy of ETN + SASP + Bc was comparable to that of ETN + MTX according to the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) improvement ratings. These results suggest that ETN + SASP + Bc combination therapy may be a viable option for RA treatment in patients in whom MTX cannot be used.

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