Objective: To compare work disability and job loss in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients receiving adalimumab plus methotrexate (adalimumab + MTX) versus MTX alone.
Methods: In this multicenter, randomized, controlled trial, patients with RA for <2 years who had never taken MTX and who self-reported work impairment were randomized to adalimumab + MTX or placebo + MTX for 56 weeks. Primary outcome was job loss of any cause and/or imminent job loss at or after week 16. Secondary outcomes included disease activity, function (Health Assessment Questionnaire [HAQ] score), and RA quality of life (RAQoL) questionnaire score. Work was evaluated with work diaries and the RA Work Instability Scale.
Results: Although job loss during the 56-week study was significantly lower with adalimumab + MTX (14 of 75 patients) compared with MTX alone (29 of 73 patients; P=0.005), the primary end point was not met (12 of 75 versus 20 of 73 patients; P=0.092), likely owing to early drop out in the MTX group. There were significant improvements in American College of Rheumatology 20% response criteria, 28-joint Disease Activity Score, DeltaHAQ, DeltaRAQoL, and working time lost in the adalimumab + MTX group. Twenty-four serious adverse events were reported in 17 participants, with no differences between groups.
Conclusion: Adalimumab + MTX reduced job loss and improved productivity in early RA when compared with MTX alone, which supports the early use of anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy and suggests its cost efficacy.