Objectives: To explore the efficacy in the long-term and the impact on Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) of infliximab in patients suffering from Takayasu's arteritis (TA).
Methods: Clinical data were retrospectively collected in 15 patients with TA. Evaluation of Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaires was made at baseline and at the last follow-up in 10 patients continuing infliximab at the last follow-up.
Results: Follow-up after initiation of infliximab was 71±44 months (range 10-162). Remission at the last follow-up was noted in 11/15 (73.3%). Significant reduction in BVAS score was noted at the last follow-up [from 4.0 (1-16) to 3.0 (0-9), p=0.003]. Significant steroid dose reduction was recorded [from 10 mg/day (0-50) to 2.5 mg/day (0-15), p=0.005)]. Steroid suspension occurred in 5/11 responder patients. Inflammatory markers were normalised in about two thirds of the patients. Radiological disease activity was assessed in 13/15 during infliximab therapy, with evidence of improvement in 2/13, stable disease activity in 9/13, and worsening in 2/13. No relevant side effects or severe infections were recorded during the whole follow-up under infliximab. One patient stopped infliximab at the third infusion for acute reaction. HRQOL in patients with TA was impaired, with major involvement of physical domains [(body pain (BP) and global health (GH)]. Infliximab significantly improved HRQOL, in particular BP (40.0±32.3 vs. 67.2±27.6, p=0.035), GH (31.2±21.5 vs. 54.9±21.1, p=0.007) and Vitality (VT) (47.0±28.7 vs. 67.0±20.3, p=0.01) domains.
Conclusions: Infliximab determined a sustained clinical improvement in the long-term in TA, with significant benefits on HRQOL.