Objective: To describe practice patterns, long-term outcome, and related factors, in relation to biological therapies tapering in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in a well-controlled real-world setting.
Methods: An observational longitudinal retrospective 10-year study was conducted in all RA patients receiving biological agents in an RA clinic from May 2003 to October 2013. Biological treatment of patients with sustained DAS28<3.2 or SDAI<11 was tapered (dose down-titrated or interval widen) or discontinued as per practice protocol. Primary outcome of tapering was relapse, defined as an increase in DAS28≥1.2. Descriptive, survival analysis, and logistic regression analysis with first relapse as dependent variable were carried out.
Results: Of 193 RA patients on biological treatment (mean age 54±14 years, 81% women), tapering was applied in 106 (55%) and discontinuation in 34 (17.6%). During follow-up 38 patients relapsed (62%). Rate of relapse was 10% at 6 months, 19% at 12 months, 33.2% at 2 years and 50% after 5 years. Mean time in dose reduction was 4.5 years [95% confidence interval (95% CI): 3.7-5.3]. Six patients (15.7%) did not respond after reinstatement of full dose of biologic. In the multivariate analysis, pain [OR=1.26 (95% CI: 1.11-1.43); P<.001] and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) [OR=1.01 (95% CI: 1.00-1.03); P=.011] at baseline were associated with relapse after tapering.
Conclusions: Tapering may be considered a long-term option in RA patients on biologics and low disease activity, especially if low ESR and pain scores are present at baseline; treatment reinstatement could be considered a safe option in case of relapse.
Keywords: Adalimumab; Ajuste de dosis; Artritis reumatoide; Clinical practice; Dose down-titration; Dose optimization; Etanercept; Infliximab; Optimización de la dosis; Práctica clínica; Rheumatoid arthritis; Rituximab; Tocilizumab.
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