Subcutaneous tocilizumab for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Emma Mitchell, Graeme Jones
Expert Review of Clinical Immunology 2016, 12 (2): 103-14
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by inflammatory synovitis and is mediated by several cytokines; this includes interleukin-6, whose receptor has been successfully targeted by the humanized monoclonal antibody tocilizumab. Intravenous tocilizumab (TCZ-IV) is registered for use in RA (alone or as combination therapy), systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis and Castleman disease. Subcutaneous tocilizumab (TCZ-SC) is a desirable alternative to existing subcutaneous biological disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) targeting tumor necrosis factor. TCZ-SC efficacy has been evaluated in three randomized controlled trials. BREVACTA demonstrated superiority to placebo, and both MUSASHI and SUMMACTA demonstrated non-inferiority to TCZ-IV. TCZ-SC has a similar safety profile to TCZ-IV apart from increased rates of injection site reactions and development of anti-TCZ antibodies (the latter of uncertain clinical significance). TCZ-SC 162 mg fortnightly is equivalent to TCZ-IV 4 mg/kg fourth weekly; TCZ-SC 162 mg weekly is equivalent to TCZ-IV 8 mg/kg fourth weekly. TCZ-SC is a suitable bDMARD for RA, particularly when monotherapy is preferred.

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