SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
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Certolizumab pegol (CDP870) for rheumatoid arthritis in adults.

BACKGROUND: Tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitors are beneficial for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in terms of reducing the risk of joint damage, improving physical function and improving quality of life. This Cochrane review is an update of a review of the treatment of RA with certolizumab pegol that was first published in 2011.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the clinical benefits and harms of certolizumab pegol (CDP870) in patients with RA who have not responded well to conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library 2014, Issue 5), MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, TOXLINE, Web of Knowledge; websites of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA); reference lists of articles; and searched http/clinicaltrials.gov. The searches were updated from 2009 (date of last search for the original review) to 5 June 2014.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials that compared certolizumab pegol with any other agent including placebo or methotrexate (MTX) in adult patients with active RA despite current or prior treatment with conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as MTX.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently assessed search results, trial quality and extracted data. Disagreements were resolved by discussion or referral to a third author.

MAIN RESULTS: Eleven trials were included in this update. Ten (4324 patients) were included in the pooled analysis for benefits, five more than previously, and 10 (3711 patients) in the pooled analysis for harms, four more trials (1930 patients) than previously. The duration of follow-up varied from 12 to 52 weeks and the range of doses of certolizumab pegol varied from 50 to 400 mg given subcutaneously (sc). In phase III trials, the control was placebo plus MTX in five trials and placebo in four trials. The risk of bias of the included studies was assessed as low but there may have been a risk of attrition bias.Statistically significant improvements were observed at 24 weeks with the approved dose of 200 mg certolizumab pegol every other week, in 1) American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 50% improvement: 27% absolute improvement (95% CI 20% to 33%), NNT of 4 (95% CI 3 to 8), risk ratio (RR) 3.80 (95% CI 2.42 to 5.95); 2) the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ): -12% absolute improvement (95% CI -9% to -14%), NNT of 6 (95% CI 5 to 8), mean difference (MD) - 0.35 (95% CI -0.43 to -0.26) (scale 0 to 3); 3) Disease Activity Score (DAS) remission improvement: absolute improvement 11% (95% CI 8% to 15%), NNT of 9 (95% CI 4 to 20), RR 8.47 (95% CI 4.15-17.28); and 4) radiological changes: erosion score (ES) absolute improvement -0.29% (95% CI -0.42% to -0.17%), NNT of 6 (95% CI 4 to 10), MD -0.67 (95% CI -0.96 to -0.38) (scale 0 to 230). Serious adverse events were statistically significantly more frequent for certolizumab pegol (200 mg every other week) with an absolute rate difference of 4% (95% CI 2% to 6%), NNTH of 32 (95% CI 17 to 88), Peto odds ratio (OR) 1.77 (95% CI 1.27 to 2.46). There was a statistically significant increase in all withdrawals in the placebo groups (for all doses and all follow-ups) with an absolute rate difference of -34% (95% CI -18% to -50%), NNTH of 4 (95% CI 3 to 5), NNTH of 4 (95% CI 3 to 5), RR 0.42 (95% CI 0.36 to 0.50); and there was a statistically significant increase in all withdrawals due to adverse events in the certolizumab groups (for all doses and all follow-up) with an absolute rate difference of 2% (95% CI 1% to 3%), NNTH of 55 (95% CI 27 to 238), Peto OR 1.66 (95% CI 1.15 to 2.37).The risk of bias was low and the quality of evidence was downgraded to moderate because of high rates of dropouts (> 20%) in most of the trials. We did not find any problems with inconsistency, indirectness, imprecision or publication bias.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: The results and conclusions did not change from the previous review. There is moderate-level evidence from randomised controlled trials that certolizumab pegol alone or combined with methotrexate is beneficial in the treatment of RA. Adverse events were more frequent with active treatment. We found a potential risk of serious adverse events.

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