Arthritis in primary Sjögren's syndrome: Characteristics, outcome and treatment from French multicenter retrospective study

Autoimmun Rev. 2019 Jan;18(1):9-14. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2018.06.015. Epub 2018 Nov 5.


Objective: To describe the characteristics and the outcome of primary Sjögren Syndrome (pSS) associated arthritis and to compare the efficacy of different therapeutic regimen.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study using Club Rhumatisme and Inflammation (CRI) and French Internal Medicine Society (SNFMI) networks. All patients with a diagnosis of pSS and at least one episode of clinical and/or echographic synovitis were included. Patients with synovitis (cases) were compared to pSS patients without synovitis (controls).

Results: 57 patients (93% women) were included with a median age of 54 years [45-63]. Patients with synovitis had more frequently lymph node enlargement (12.3% vs. 1.8%, p = .007) and a higher ESSDAI score (8 [6-12] vs. 2 [1-4], p < .0001). There was no difference concerning CRP levels, rheumatoid factor and cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP)-antibodies positivity. Among 57 patients with synovitis, 101 various treatment courses have been used during the follow-up of 40 [22.5-77] months. First treatment course consisted in steroids alone (3.5%), steroids in association (79%) with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) (49%), methotrexate (MTX) (35%), rituximab (RTX) (5.3%) or other immunosuppressive drugs (7%). HCQ, MTX, and RTX were associated with a significant reduction of tender and swollen joint count, and a significant steroids-sparing effect. No difference could be shown for the joint response between these treatment regimens.

Conclusion: pSS articular manifestations may include synovitis which could mimic rheumatoid arthritis but differ by the absence of structural damage. Even if the use of HCQ, MTX, and RTX seem to be effective for joint involvement, the best regimen remains to be determined.

Keywords: DMARDS; Primary Sjögren's syndrome; Rituximab; Synovitis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / etiology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / complications*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / immunology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome