Introduction: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a heterogeneous group of idiopathic inflammatory arthritis affecting children younger than 16 years of age. Tocilizumab (TCZ) is a humanized anti-interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor antibody that was approved for systemic and polyarticular JIA patients. However, the studies regarding patients' satisfaction while receiving TCZ therapy is scarce. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the effect of subcutaneous (SC) TCZ administration on patient satisfaction and disease control of JIA patients.
Methods: All JIA patients receiving TCZ were included in the study. Clinical features, laboratory findings and JADAS71 scores were recorded at baseline and every 3 months during follow-up. Nine of the patients on intravenous (IV) TCZ treatment were switched to SC form. All patients receiving TCZ-SC were questioned by a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) to assess patient satisfaction.
Results: A total of 39 patients receiving TCZ were included in the study. Among them, treatment of nine patients (five female, four male) was switched to SC form with a median of 11.5 (8-69) months after initiation of TCZ. Patients were stable both clinically and in laboratory means at the 3rd month of TCZ-SC treatment. There was no deterioration in terms of active joint counts, physician's VAS, patient's VAS and JADAS71. According to patient satisfaction questionnaire, eight of the patients felt satisfied with SC administrations in terms of life quality, school success and reduced school absenteeism. However, one patient did not agree that the SC form is as effective as IV form and wanted to continue with IV form.
Conclusion: TCZ is an effective treatment option in JIA and switching from IV to SC route when necessary is found to be an effective and acceptable alternative by the patients as well.
Keywords: Patient satisfaction; Subcutaneous; Tocilizumab.