Patient-reported outcomes of upadacitinib versus abatacept in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and an inadequate response to biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs: 12- and 24-week results of a phase 3 trial

Arthritis Res Ther. 2022 Jun 24;24(1):155. doi: 10.1186/s13075-022-02813-x.


Background: In previous clinical trials, patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with upadacitinib (UPA) have improved patient-reported outcomes (PROs). This post hoc analysis of SELECT-CHOICE, a phase 3 clinical trial, evaluated the impact of UPA vs abatacept (ABA) with background conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (csDMARDs) on PROs in patients with RA with inadequate response or intolerance to biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARD-IR).

Methods: Patients in SELECT-CHOICE received UPA (oral 15 mg/day) or ABA (intravenous). PROs evaluated included Patient Global Assessment of Disease Activity (PtGA) by visual analog scale (VAS), patient's assessment of pain by VAS, Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI), morning stiffness duration and severity, 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue (FACIT-F), Work Productivity and Activity Impairment (WPAI), and EQ-5D 5-Level (EQ-5D-5L) index score. Least squares mean (LSM) changes from baseline to weeks 12 and 24 were based on an analysis of covariance model. Proportions of patients reporting improvements ≥ minimal clinically important differences (MCID) were compared using chi-square tests.

Results: Data from 612 patients were analyzed (UPA, n=303; ABA, n=309). Mean age was 56 years and mean disease duration was 12 years. One-third received ≥2 prior bDMARDs and 72% received concomitant methotrexate at baseline. At week 12, UPA- vs ABA-treated patients had significantly greater improvements in PtGA, pain, HAQ-DI, morning stiffness severity, EQ-5D-5L, 2/4 WPAI domains, and 3/8 SF-36 domains and Physical Component Summary (PCS) scores (P<0.05); significant differences persisted at week 24 for HAQ-DI, morning stiffness severity, SF-36 PCS and bodily pain domain, and WPAI activity impairment domain. At week 12, significantly more UPA- vs ABA-treated patients reported improvements ≥MCID in HAQ-DI (74% vs 64%) and SF-36 PCS (79% vs 66%) and 4/8 domain scores (P<0.05).

Conclusions: At week 12, UPA vs ABA treatment elicited greater improvements in key domains of physical functioning, pain, and general health and earlier improvements in HAQ-DI. Overall, more UPA- vs ABA-treated patients achieved ≥MCID in most PROs at all timepoints; however, not all differences were statistically significant. These data, however, highlight the faster response to UPA treatment.

Trial registration: NCT03086343 , March 22, 2017.

Keywords: JAK inhibitors; Patient-reported outcomes; Rheumatoid arthritis; Targeted synthetic DMARDs; Upadacitinib.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept / therapeutic use
  • Antirheumatic Agents*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Biological Products* / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring
  • Humans
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Biological Products
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring
  • upadacitinib
  • Abatacept
  • Methotrexate

Associated data