Expert Recommendations on the Interleukin 6 Blockade in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Reumatol Clin (Engl Ed). 2020 Jul-Aug;16(4):272-281. doi: 10.1016/j.reuma.2018.07.004. Epub 2018 Aug 8.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Objective: To draft recommendations on interleukin 6 (IL-6) blockade in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), based on best evidence and experience.

Methods: A group of 10 experts on IL-6 blockade in RA was selected. The 2 coordinators formulated 23 questions about IL-6 blockade (indications, efficacy, safety, etc.). A systematic review was conducted to answer the questions. Using this information, inclusion and exclusion criteria were established, as were the search strategies (Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were searched). Two different reviewers selected the articles. Evidence tables were created. At the same time, European League Against Rheumatism and American College of Rheumatology abstracts were evaluated. Based on this evidence, the coordinators proposed preliminary recommendations that the experts discussed and voted on in a nominal group meeting. The level of evidence and grade of recommendation were established using the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine and the level of agreement with the Delphi technique (2 rounds). Agreement was established if at least 80% of the experts voted yes (yes/no).

Results: The 8 preliminary recommendations were accepted after the Delphi process. They covered aspects such as the use of these therapies in monotherapy, in combination, in patients with refractory disease or intolerant patients, response evaluation, optimization and risk management.

Conclusions: The manuscript aims to solve frequently asked questions and aid in decision making strategies when treating RA patients with IL-6 blockade.

Keywords: Artritis reumatoide; Interleucina 6; Interleukin 6; Recomendaciones; Recommendations; Rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Interleukin-6
  • tocilizumab
  • sarilumab