Evaluation of abatacept in biologic-naïve patients with active rheumatoid arthritis

Clin Rheumatol. 2010 Jun;29(6):583-91. doi: 10.1007/s10067-009-1363-0. Epub 2010 Jan 23.


This article reviews the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of abatacept plus methotrexate in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and an inadequate response to methotrexate who are naïve to biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Data from the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Abatacept in Inadequate Responders to Methotrexate, Abatacept or Infliximab vs Placebo, a Trial for Tolerability, Efficacy, and Safety in Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis, and phase IIb dose-finding trials and their long-term extensions are reviewed. Abatacept plus methotrexate significantly improved clinical responses, physical function, and health-related quality of life compared with methotrexate alone. More patients receiving abatacept plus methotrexate than methotrexate monotherapy achieved a low disease activity state or remission. Radiographic progression of the disease was significantly slowed in the abatacept plus methotrexate arms. Abatacept plus methotrexate was generally well tolerated with no clinically significant safety issues identified. The beneficial effects of abatacept plus methotrexate were sustained long term in extension studies, and no new tolerability or safety issues were evident. Abatacept in combination with methotrexate is an effective, safe, and well-tolerated long-term therapy in biologic-naïve patients with active RA and an inadequate response to methotrexate. Abatacept could be considered as a first-line biologic DMARD in the treatment of RA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates / therapeutic use*
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Abatacept
  • Methotrexate