Objective: To evaluate the safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of 50 mg etanercept administered subcutaneously once weekly in adult patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: Four hundred twenty RA patients were randomized to receive, in a blinded manner, the study drug for up to 16 weeks: 214 patients received 50 mg etanercept once weekly, 153 received 25 mg etanercept twice weekly, and 53 received placebo for 8 weeks followed by 25 mg etanercept twice weekly for 8 weeks. Efficacy and safety were assessed at weeks 8 and 16. Pharmacokinetic analyses were performed on serum samples from patients at selected study sites. The primary efficacy end point was achievement of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20% improvement criteria (ACR20 response) at week 8.
Results: An ACR20 response was achieved at week 8 by 50% of the patients receiving 50 mg etanercept once weekly, by 49% of the patients receiving 25 mg etanercept twice weekly, and by 19% of the patients in the placebo group (P </= 0.0001 for each etanercept group versus placebo). Similarly, achievement of the ACR50 response was attained by 18% of patients in each of the 2 etanercept groups, compared with 6% of patients in the placebo group (P < 0.03 for each comparison). Pharmacokinetics of the 2 etanercept regimens were similar at steady state. No clinically significant differences in efficacy or safety were observed between the 2 etanercept groups.
Conclusion: Safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics were comparable between the 2 etanercept dosing regimens. Thus, comparable clinical outcomes are to be expected when patients are treated with etanercept administered either as 50 mg once weekly or as 25 mg twice weekly.