Intravenous dosing of tocilizumab in patients younger than two years of age with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis: results from an open-label phase 1 clinical trial

Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2019 Aug 22;17(1):57. doi: 10.1186/s12969-019-0364-z.


Background: The anti-interleukin-6 receptor-alpha antibody tocilizumab was approved for intravenous (IV) injection in the treatment of patients with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA) aged 2 to 17 years based on results of a randomized controlled phase 3 trial. Tocilizumab treatment in systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA) patients younger than 2 was investigated in this open-label phase 1 trial and compared with data from the previous trial in patients aged 2 to 17 years.

Methods: Patients younger than 2 received open-label tocilizumab 12 mg/kg IV every 2 weeks (Q2W) during a 12-week main evaluation period and an optional extension period. The primary end point was comparability of pharmacokinetics during the main evaluation period to that of the previous trial (in patients aged 2-17 years), and the secondary end point was safety; pharmacodynamics and efficacy end points were exploratory. Descriptive comparisons for pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, safety, and efficacy were made with sJIA patients aged 2 to 17 years weighing < 30 kg (n = 38) who received tocilizumab 12 mg/kg IV Q2W in the previous trial (control group).

Results: Eleven patients (mean age, 1.3 years) received tocilizumab during the main evaluation period. The primary end point was met: tocilizumab exposures for patients younger than 2 were within the range of the control group (mean [±SD] μg/mL concentration at the end-of-dosing interval [Cmin]: 39.8 [±14.3] vs 57.5 [±23.3]; maximum concentration [Cmax] postdose: 288 [±40.4] vs 245 [±57.2]). At week 12, pharmacodynamic measures were similar between patients younger than 2 and the control group; mean change from baseline in Juvenile Arthritis Disease Activity Score-71 was - 17.4 in patients younger than 2 and - 28.8 in the control group; rash was reported by 14.3 and 13.5% of patients, respectively. Safety was comparable except for the incidence of serious hypersensitivity reactions (27.3% in patients younger than 2 vs 2.6% in the control group).

Conclusions: Tocilizumab 12 mg/kg IV Q2W provided pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and efficacy in sJIA patients younger than 2 comparable to those in patients aged 2 to 17 years. Safety was comparable except for a higher incidence of serious hypersensitivity events in patients younger than 2 years.

Classification: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Trial registration:, NCT01455701 . Registered, October 20, 2011, Date of enrollment of first participant: October 26, 2012.

Keywords: Biological therapy; Inflammation; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Pharmacokinetics.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / pharmacokinetics
  • Antirheumatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antirheumatic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • tocilizumab

Associated data