Evaluation of response to 13-valent conjugated pneumococcal vaccination in patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving upadacitinib: results from a phase 2 open-label extension study

RMD Open. 2022 Mar;8(1):e002110. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2021-002110.


Objective: To assess the immunogenicity of pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccination (PCV-13) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving upadacitinib and background methotrexate (MTX).

Methods: Eligible patients from the phase 2 open-label extension trial BALANCE-EXTEND (NCT02049138) receiving stable dosing of upadacitinib 15 mg or 30 mg once daily plus background MTX were given PCV-13. Antibody titres were collected prevaccination and 4 and 12 weeks postvaccination. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with satisfactory humoral response to PCV-13, defined as a ≥2-fold increase in ≥6 of 12 pneumococcal antigens at 4 weeks postvaccination.

Results: Of 111 patients (upadacitinib 15 mg, N=87; 30 mg, N=24), 85.6% were women, 97.3% used concomitant MTX and 44.1% used oral corticosteroids. At 4 weeks, 67.5% (95% CI 57.4 to 77.5) of patients receiving upadacitinib 15 mg and 56.5% (36.3 to 76.8) receiving 30 mg had a satisfactory PCV-13 response. Responses were similar in patients who used or did not use concomitant corticosteroids. No deaths or serious adverse events were reported.

Conclusions: Approximately two-thirds of patients receiving upadacitinib 15 mg once daily achieved a satisfactory humoral response to PCV-13 despite receiving concomitant MTX. Concomitant corticosteroid use did not negatively affect PCV-13 response.

Keywords: antirheumatic agents; arthritis; rheumatoid; vaccination.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid*
  • Female
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Vaccination


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring
  • upadacitinib

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02049138