Efficacy of tofacitinib monotherapy in methotrexate-naive patients with early or established rheumatoid arthritis

RMD Open. 2016 Jul 26;2(2):e000262. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2016-000262. eCollection 2016.


Introduction: Tofacitinib is an oral Janus kinase inhibitor for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Tofacitinib monotherapy was previously shown to inhibit structural damage, reduce clinical signs and symptoms of RA, and improve physical functioning over 24 months in methotrexate (MTX)-naive adult patients with RA. In this post hoc analysis, we compared efficacy and safety of tofacitinib in patients with early (disease duration <1 year) versus established (≥1 year) RA.

Methods: MTX-naive patients ≥18 years with active RA received tofacitinib monotherapy (5 or 10 mg two times a day, or MTX monotherapy, in a 24-month Phase 3 trial.

Results: Of 956 patients (tofacitinib 5 mg two times a day, n=373; tofacitinib 10 mg two times a day, n=397; MTX, n=186), 54% had early RA. Baseline disease activity and functional disability were similar in both groups; radiographic damage was greater in patients with established RA. At month 24, clinical response rates were significantly greater in patients with early versus established RA in the tofacitinib 5 mg two times a day group. Both tofacitinib doses had greater effects on clinical, functional and radiographic improvements at 1 and 2 years compared with MTX, independent of disease duration. No new safety signals were observed.

Conclusions: Treatment response was generally similar in early and established RA; significantly greater improvements were observed at month 24 with tofacitinib 5 mg two times a day in early versus established RA. Tofacitinib 5 and 10 mg two times a day demonstrated greater efficacy versus MTX irrespective of disease duration. No difference in safety profiles was observed between patients with early or established RA.

Trial registration number: NCT01039688; Results.

Keywords: DMARDs (synthetic); Early Rheumatoid Arthritis; Methotrexate; Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01039688