New research confirms no significant difference in the rates of death among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who were exposed to one of several TNF inhibitors used to treat RA, adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), and infliximab (Remicade). This population-based study of RA patients in Sweden—the first to compare mortality rates among patients treated with individual TNF inhibitors—is now available in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).
RA is a chronic, autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation in the joints that causes pain, tenderness and swelling. The World Health Organization estimates that RA affects up to one percent of individuals worldwide, with more than one million Americans diagnosed with the disease according to the ACR. Rheumatologists recommend early intervention with biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as TNF inhibitors to slow disease progression, improve function, and prevent disability.
In Sweden nearly 15% of RA patients are prescribed TNF inhibitors. The present study examined the mortality rates in RA patients exposed to adalimumab, etanercept, or infliximab. "Understanding risk versus benefits of treatment with the most commonly prescribed biologics is important for physicians and patients in managing RA," said lead author Dr. Julia Fridman Simard with the Clinical Epidemiology Unit at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Researchers linked data from the Swedish Biologics Register (ARTIS), a comprehensive database of patients initiating first-ever biologic therapy for rheumatic diseases, and information from national Swedish registers that included data such as all-cause mortality, demographics, and RA characteristics. Between 2003 and 2008, 1,609 patients with RA initiated treatment with adalimumab, 2,686 with etanercept, and 2,027 with infliximab as their first ever biologic DMARD.
There were more than 19,000 person-years of follow-up during the five-year study period during which time 211 patients died (3.3%). "While we found no statistically significant difference in mortality rates across the three biologic therapies, further studies are needed to determine if this is true across certain subsets of patients with RA," concludes Dr. Simard.
This study is published in Arthritis & Rheumatism. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact email@example.com.
Full Citation: "Mortality in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated with TNF Inhibitors: Drug-Specific Comparisons in the Swedish Biologics Register." Julia F Simard, Martin Neovius, Johan Askling for the ARTIS study group. Arthritis & Rheumatism; Published Online: August 8, 2012 (DOI: 10.1002/art.34582).
Author Contact: To arrange an interview with Dr. Simard, please contact Presstjänsten (Press office) with Karolinska Institutet at +46 (0)8-524 860 77.
About the Journal:
Arthritis & Rheumatism is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the College, and covers all aspects of inflammatory disease. The American College of Rheumatology (www.rheumatology.org) is the professional organization who share a dedication to healing, preventing disability, and curing the more than 100 types of arthritis and related disabling and sometimes fatal disorders of the joints, muscles, and bones. Members include practicing physicians, research scientists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, and social workers. The journal is published by Wiley on behalf of the ACR. For more information, please visit http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/art .
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2012 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting Press Registration Now Open.
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When: November 10 - 14, 2012
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Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., the American College of Rheumatology is an international professional medical society that represents more than 8,500 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. Rheumatologists are internists or pediatricians who are qualified by training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Over 50 million Americans - including nearly 300,000 children - suffer from the painful, disabling and sometimes fatal effects of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. The ACR's mission is to advance rheumatology. Learn more by visiting www.rheumatology.org. or follow ACR on Twitter at www.twitter.com/acrheum.
Arthritis & Rheumatism