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Efficiency of dose reduction strategy of etanercept in patients with axial spondyloarthritis

Fan Lian, Jun Zhou, Yu Wang, Dongying Chen, Hanshi Xu, Liuqin Liang
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2018, 36 (5): 884-890

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy of different tapering or discontinuation strategies of etanercept in a cohort of axial spondyloarthritis from South China.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study. Axial SpA patients who achieved clinical remission for at least 6 months after receiving a standard dose of etanercept therapy were enrolled. Different tapering or discontinuation strategies were compared.

RESULTS: Altogether, 258 cases were enrolled. No differences were found in baseline characteristics among the three groups. Significantly more patients on discontinuation group (19%) than tapering group (5.4%, p<0.001) relapsed as early as 6 months. Almost all of the patients (103/107, 96.3%) in taper 25% group and more than 80% (71/88, 80.7%) of the patients in taper 50% group maintained low disease activity (LDA) or clinical remission during the first year. At the end of the 2-year follow-up, the percentage of patients maintaining LDA or remission were 28.6% (discontinuation), 55.7% (taper 50%), 84.1% (taper 25%), respectively. Activity indexes were significantly lower in taper 25% group compared to the other two groups. Patients in discontinuation group and tapering 50% group, with longer SpA duration were more likely to relapse, and remission>12 months before discontinuation/tapering helped to reduce relapse.

CONCLUSIONS: It is feasible to slowly increase the dosing interval and transit to the lowest effective dosing interval for some patients in remission/LDA. Prolonging the time under remission before tapering help to improve the outcome. Tapering 25% of the etanercept dose every 3 months may be a pragmatic approach for more cost-effective use of the drug.


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