Background: Previous global studies examined etanercept (ETN) + methotrexate (MTX) for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but included few subjects from Latin America.
Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the safety and efficacy of ETN + MTX versus a standard-of-care disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) + MTX in Latin American subjects with moderate to severe active RA despite MTX therapy.
Methods: This open-label, active-comparator study (NCT00848354) randomized subjects 2:1 to ETN 50 mg/wk + MTX or investigator-selected DMARD (sulfasalazine or hydroxychloroquine) + MTX (ETN + MTX, n = 281; DMARD + MTX, n = 142). The primary end point was the proportion achieving American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 50 at week 24. Secondary end points included ACR20/70, disease activity score (DAS) 28 measures, and mean change in modified total Sharp score. Patient-reported outcomes were the Health Assessment Questionnaire, 36-item Short-Form, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Work Productivity and Activity Impairment: RA (WPAI:RA), and Caregiver Burden and Resource Utilization. Statistical analyses were stratified by country; χ test and analysis of covariance were used. Adverse events were monitored.
Results: More subjects achieved ACR50 at week 24 with ETN + MTX versus DMARD + MTX (62% vs 23%, respectively), in addition to secondary end points (P < 0.0001 for all); mean change in modified total Sharp score was lower for the ETN + MTX group (0.4 vs 1.4, respectively; P = 0.0270). Improvements in patient-reported outcomes favored ETN + MTX for Health Assessment Questionnaire, 36-item Short-Form, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale for depression, WPAI:RA, and Caregiver Burden and Resource Utilization emergency department visits for RA (P < 0.01). Overall, adverse events were similar between the groups (69% vs 68%,); serious adverse events were also similar (4% vs 1%). The rate of overall infections was higher with ETN + MTX (38%) than DMARD + MTX (22%, P ≤ 0.001).
Conclusions: Consistent with published global data among RA patients with inadequate response to MTX, adding ETN to MTX demonstrated better efficacy than adding one other conventional DMARD to MTX. No new safety issues were observed. ETN + MTX provided favorable benefit-risk profile among RA patients from LA region.