Evaluation of the effect of tofacitinib on measured glomerular filtration rate in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: results from a randomised controlled trial

Arthritis Res Ther. 2015 Apr 6;17(1):95. doi: 10.1186/s13075-015-0612-7.


Introduction: Tofacitinib is an oral Janus kinase inhibitor for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). During the clinical development programme, increases in mean serum creatinine (SCr) of approximately 0.07 mg/dL and 0.08 mg/dL were observed which plateaued early. This study assessed changes in measured glomerular filtration rate (mGFR) with tofacitinib relative to placebo in patients with active RA.

Methods: This was a randomised, placebo-controlled, Phase 1 study (NCT01484561). Patients were aged ≥18 years with active RA. Patients were randomised 2:1 to oral tofacitinib 10 mg twice daily (BID) in Period 1 then placebo BID in Period 2 (tofacitinib → placebo); or oral placebo BID in both Periods (placebo → placebo). Change in mGFR was evaluated by iohexol serum clearance at four time points (run-in, pre-dose in Period 1, Period 1 end, and Period 2 end). The primary endpoint was the change in mGFR from baseline to Period 1 end. Secondary endpoints included: change in mGFR at other time points; change in estimated GFR (eGFR; Cockcroft-Gault equation) and SCr; efficacy; and safety.

Results: 148 patients were randomised to tofacitinib → placebo (N = 97) or placebo → placebo (N = 51). Baseline characteristics were similar between groups. A reduction of 8% (90% confidence interval [CI]: 2%, 14%) from baseline in adjusted geometric mean mGFR was observed during tofacitinib treatment in Period 1 vs placebo. During Period 2, mean mGFR returned towards baseline during placebo treatment, and there was no difference between the two treatment groups at the end of the study--ratio (tofacitinib → placebo/placebo → placebo) of adjusted geometric mean fold change of mGFR was 1.04 (90% CI: 0.97, 1.11). Post-hoc analyses, focussed on mGFR variability in placebo → placebo patients, were consistent with this conclusion. At study end, similar results were observed for eGFR and SCr. Clinical efficacy and safety were consistent with prior studies.

Conclusion: Increases in mean SCr and decreases in eGFR in tofacitinib-treated patients with RA may occur in parallel with decreases in mean mGFR; mGFR returned towards baseline after tofacitinib discontinuation, with no significant difference vs placebo, even after post-hoc analyses. Safety monitoring will continue in ongoing and future clinical studies and routine pharmacovigilance.

Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01484561. Registered 30 November 2011.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Piperidines / adverse effects*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects*
  • Pyrroles / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Piperidines
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Pyrroles
  • tofacitinib
  • Creatinine

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01484561