Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis With Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor or Tocilizumab Therapy as First Biologic in a Global Comparative Observational Study.

Choy, Ernest H; Bernasconi, Corrado Angelo; Aassi, Maher; Molina, Jose Fernando; Epis, Oscar Massimiliano (2017). Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis With Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor or Tocilizumab Therapy as First Biologic in a Global Comparative Observational Study. Arthritis care & research, 69(10), pp. 1484-1494. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1002/acr.23303

acr23303.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial (CC-BY-NC).

Download (329kB) | Preview

OBJECTIVE Compare clinical effectiveness between tocilizumab and tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and inadequate response to conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs initiating biologic therapy. METHODS Patients prescribed tocilizumab (intravenous) or TNFi were prospectively observed in routine clinical practice for 52 weeks across 158 sites in 26 countries. The primary observation was change from baseline in Disease Activity Score based on 28 joints-erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28-ESR) at week 24 using analysis of covariance for between-group comparison. Secondary end points included Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) and patient-reported outcomes at weeks 24 and 52. RESULTS Of 1216 patients, 35% initiated tocilizumab and 65% initiated TNFi. RA duration was shorter and disease activity and corticosteroid use were higher in tocilizumab patients. Tocilizumab-treated patients had greater improvement in DAS28-ESR at weeks 24 and 52 (week 24 difference [95% confidence interval] in adjusted means: -0.831 [-1.086, -0.576]; p<0.001). Change from baseline in CDAI was also greater with tocilizumab (adjusted means difference: week 24, -3.48; week 52, -4.60; both p<0.001). Tocilizumab-treated patients had more improvement in Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index than TNFi-treated patients (p<0.05). The cumulative probability of drug discontinuation at week 52 was lower with tocilizumab (15%) than TNFi (27%; p<0.001, unadjusted analysis). Unadjusted frequencies (events/100 patient-years) for tocilizumab and TNFi were 6.44 and 11.99 for serious adverse events, 1.98 and 5.03 for serious infections, and 0.74 and 0.77 for deaths, respectively. CONCLUSION Patients initiating tocilizumab experienced improved effectiveness and drug survival than those initiating TNFi in an observational setting. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Bernasconi, Corrado Angelo


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Stefanie Hetzenecker

Date Deposited:

07 Nov 2017 16:05

Last Modified:

24 May 2018 11:20

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Anti-TNF Drugs Biologics Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) Rheumatoid arthritis interleukin-6 interleukin-6 receptor-alpha inhibitor tocilizumab




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback