Early effects of tocilizumab in the treatment of moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis: a one-week sub-study of a randomised controlled trial (Rapid Onset and Systemic Efficacy [ROSE] Study)

Yusuf Yazici, Jeffrey R Curtis, Akgun Ince, Herbert S B Baraf, Denise M Lepley, Jenny N Devenport, Arthur Kavanaugh
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2013, 31 (3): 358-64

OBJECTIVES: Tocilizumab has demonstrated efficacy in managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from week 2 onward. This sub-study assessed effects of tocilizumab plus disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) during the first week of therapy.

METHODS: Rapid Onset and Systemic Efficacy was a 24-week, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial. Adults with moderate to severe active RA taking DMARDs received tocilizumab 8 mg/kg (or placebo) plus DMARDs every 4 weeks. Data were analysed from the first 62 patients at designated study sites who agreed to clinical evaluation and blood sampling at days 3 and 7 and had C-reactive protein levels ≥1 mg/dl. Outcomes included American College of Rheumatology core data set measures, disease activity score using 28 joints (DAS28) and routine assessment of patient index data 3 (RAPID3) scores.

RESULTS: Baseline evaluations were similar between groups (tocilizumab, n=40; placebo, n=22). Patient global assessments of disease activity and pain improved significantly in favour of tocilizumab (mean change from baseline to day 7: -16.2 [tocilizumab], 0.8 [placebo] [p=0.005] and -12.2 [tocilizumab], 1.4 [placebo] [p=0.01], respectively). Physician global assessment of disease activity also improved more with tocilizumab (-15.4 [tocilizumab], -5.6 [placebo] [p=0.05]). Changes from baseline in tender/swollen joint counts, physical function and RAPID3 scores were not significantly different between groups. DAS28 significantly improved with tocilizumab versus placebo at day 7 (-1.16 [tocilizumab], -0.27 [placebo] [p=0.007]).

CONCLUSIONS: Tocilizumab showed significant improvement in patient-reported disease activity, pain and DAS28 score as early as day 7 after first infusion, earlier than physician-reported measures, which may take longer to manifest.

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