Factors associated with the achievement of biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drug-free remission in rheumatoid arthritis: The ANSWER cohort study

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Abstract

Background: Clinical remission can be maintained after the discontinuation of biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) in some patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (bDMARD-free remission (BFR)). It is unknown which bDMARD is advantageous for achieving BFR or under which conditions BFR can be considered. This study aimed to determine the factors associated with BFR achievement in clinical practice. Methods: Patients with RA were enrolled from a Japanese multicenter observational registry. Patients with RA who achieved clinical remission (Disease Activity Score 28-C-reactive protein <2.3) at the time of bDMARD discontinuation were included. Serial disease activities and treatment changes were followed up. BFR was considered to have failed if the disease activity exceeded the remission cutoff value or if bDMARDs were restarted. Results: Overall, 181 RA patients were included. BFR was maintained in 21.5% of patients at 1year after bDMARD discontinuation. BFR was more successfully achieved after discontinuation of anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) monoclonal antibodies (TNFi(mAb)) (infliximab, adalimumab, and golimumab), followed by CTLA4-Ig (abatacept), soluble TNF receptor or Fab fragments against TNF fused with polyethylene glycol (etanercept and certolizumab), and anti-interleukin-6 receptor Ab (tocilizumab). After multivariate analysis, sustained remission (>6months), Boolean remission, no glucocorticoid use at the time of bDMARD discontinuation, and use of TNFi(mAb) or CTLA4-Ig remained as independent factors associated with BFR. Conclusions: BFR can be achieved in some patients with RA after bDMARD discontinuation in clinical practice. Use of TNFi(mAb) or CTLA4-Ig, sustained remission, Boolean remission, and no glucocorticoid use at the time of bDMARD discontinuation are advantageous for achieving BFR.

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Hashimoto, M., Furu, M., Yamamoto, W., Fujimura, T., Hara, R., Katayama, M., … Mimori, T. (2018). Factors associated with the achievement of biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drug-free remission in rheumatoid arthritis: The ANSWER cohort study. Arthritis Research and Therapy, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-018-1673-1

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