IL1-blocking therapy in colchicine-resistant familial Mediterranean fever

Eur J Rheumatol. 2018 Dec;5(4):230-234. doi: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2018.18036. Epub 2018 Oct 12.


Objective: Approximately 10%-20% of patients with familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) show an inadequate response to colchicine. In our cohort study, patients with FMF with or without amyloidosis and with an inadequate response to colchicine were treated with anakinra or canakinumab.

Methods: Clinical and laboratory parameters, Mediterranean fever (MEFV) mutations, and patient-reported outcomes were analyzed in 31 patients treated with anakinra or canakinumab.

Results: In a cohort of 250 adult patients with FMF, 31 patients were treated with anakinra (n=29) or canakinumab (n=2). The median Pras FMF severity score was 8 (range, 5-14) and correlated with the presence of high-penetrance MEFV mutations (p.Met-694-Val or p.Met-680-Ile). The FMF severity score was 11 in patients with two high-penetrance MEFV mutations (68%), 9 in those with a single high-penetrance MEFV mutation (19%), and 7.5 in those without high-penetrance MEFV mutations (13%, p=0.2). FMF-related amyloid A amyloidosis was diagnosed in 12 (39%) patients. Anakinra was used daily in 20 patients, thrice a week in 7, and upon demand during attacks in 2. Two patients were treated with canakinumab. IL-1-blocking treatment showed a rapid (2±3 days) and persistent suppression of FMF symptoms and inflammatory parameters. The frequency of FMF attacks was significantly reduced (p<0.003). Both patient- and physician-reported FMF activity significantly improved (p<0.0001).

Conclusion: IL-1-blocking therapy was well tolerated over a median period of 2 years and reduced the frequency of FMF attacks in patients with colchicine-resistant FMF.