Objectives: To compare effectiveness between tofacitinib and tocilizumab treatments for biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (bDMARD)-naïve patients or previous bDMARD-failure patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) refractory to methotrexate (MTX).
Methods: We used two ongoing real-world registries of patients with RA who had first started tofacitinib or tocilizumab between August 2013 and February 2019 at our institutions. Clinical disease activity index (CDAI)-based improvements at 12 months were used for comparisons between tofacitinib and tocilizumab treatments, separately for bDMARD-naïve and previous bDMARD-failure patients.
Results: A total of 464 patients with RA with high or moderate CDAI were enrolled (247 with tofacitinib and 217 with tocilizumab). After adjustments for treatment-selection bias by propensity score matching, we showed that tofacitinib was more likely to induce and maintain ≥85% improvement in CDAI (CDAI85), CDAI70 and remission at 12 months compared with tocilizumab in bDMARD-naïve patients. After adjusting for concurrent use of MTX and prednisolone, the ORs of tofacitinib versus tocilizumab were 3.88 (95% CI 1.87 to 8.03) for CDAI85, 2.89 (95% CI 1.43 to 5.84) for CDAI70 and 3.31 (95% CI 1.69 to 6.48) for remission. These effects were not observed in bDMARD-failure patients. In tofacitinib treatment for bDMARD-failure patients, the number of previously failed bDMARD classes was not associated with CDAI-based improvements. The rate of overall adverse events was similar between both treatments. Similar ORs were obtained from patients adjusted by inverse probability of treatment weighting.
Conclusions: Compared with tocilizumab, tofacitinib can induce greater improvements during the first 12-month treatment in bDMARD-naïve patients, but this difference was not observed in previous bDMARD-failure patients.
Keywords: antirheumatic agents; arthritis; biological therapy; rheumatoid; therapeutics.
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