Background: JAK-inhibitors (JAKi), recently approved in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), have changed the landscape of treatment choices. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of four current second-line therapies of RA with different modes of action, since JAKi approval, in an international collaboration of 19 registers.
Methods: In this observational cohort study, patients initiating tumour necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi), interleukin-6 inhibitors (IL-6i), abatacept (ABA) or JAKi were included. We compared the effectiveness of these treatments in terms of drug discontinuation and Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) response rates at 1 year. Analyses were adjusted for patient, disease and treatment characteristics, including lines of therapy and accounted for competing risk.
Results: We included 31 846 treatment courses: 17 522 TNFi, 2775 ABA, 3863 IL-6i and 7686 JAKi. Adjusted analyses of overall discontinuation were similar across all treatments. The main single reason of stopping treatment was ineffectiveness. Compared with TNFi, JAKi were less often discontinued for ineffectiveness (adjusted HR (aHR) 0.75, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.83), as was IL-6i (aHR 0.76, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.85) and more often for adverse events (aHR 1.16, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.33). Adjusted CDAI response rates at 1 year were similar between TNFi, JAKi and IL-6i and slightly lower for ABA.
Conclusion: The adjusted overall drug discontinuation and 1 year response rates of JAKi and IL-6i were similar to those observed with TNFi. Compared with TNFi, JAKi were more often discontinued for adverse events and less for ineffectiveness, as were IL-6i.
Keywords: Arthritis, Rheumatoid; Biological Therapy; Epidemiology; Therapeutics; Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors.
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