Efficacy of subcutaneous tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic sclerosis overlap syndrome: a report of two cases and review of the literature

Hiroki Wakabayashi, Hitoshi Kino, Makoto Kondo, Keiichi Yamanaka, Masahiro Hasegawa, Akihiro Sudo
BMC rheumatology 2019, 3: 15

Background: The details of two rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) who were administered tocilizumab, an anti-interleukin-6 receptor antibody, are reported, along with a review of the literature.

Case presentation: Two RA patients with SSc with inadequate responses to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) were given tocilizumab 162 mg every 2 weeks for 18 months. RA disease activity was evaluated by the 28-joint disease activity score with erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28-ESR) and the clinical disease activity index (CDAI). The skin condition of SSc was evaluated by pinching the skin according to the modified Rodnan total skin thickness score (mRSS). Softening of the skin and improvements of arthritis and the patient global assessment were observed during tocilizumab treatment, with reduction of not only RA disease activity, but also of the mRSS.

Conclusion: Tocilizumab may be effective in patients with RA and SSc overlap syndrome for which conventional treatment is inadequate. Further research is needed because this report included only two patients.

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