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Reumatismo. 2009 Apr-Jun;61(2):107-17.

Switching between TNFalpha antagonists in rheumatoid arthritis: personal experience and review of the literature.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Clinica e Terapia Medica, Sezione di Reumatologia, Sapienza Università di Roma, Policlinico Umberto I, 00161 Roma, Italia.



To evaluate the clinical response after switching to another TNFalpha antagonist in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and provide a review of the literature on this topic.


In this ongoing, longitudinal, observational study we have prospectively collected data of patients starting biological treatments since 2000. The present analysis is restricted to RA patients who switched to another anti-TNFalpha due to lack of efficacy (LaE), loss of efficacy (LoE), or adverse events (AEs) by the end of December 2007. Disease activity score (ESR-based DAS28) was calculated and the clinical response (none, moderate, good) was evaluated according to the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) criteria. Clinical remission (DAS28 <2.6) and low disease activity (DAS28 </=3.2) were also evaluated.


A total of 692 anti-TNFalpha-naïve patients has been registered, of whom 395 with a diagnosis of RA. Thirtyseven RA patients switched to another TNFalpha antagonist. Three months after switching, the proportion of patients with remission, low disease activity, good and moderate/good EULAR responses grew from 0%, 2.7%, 0%, and 5.4% (baseline before switching) to 16.2%, 35.1%, 27%, and 62.2% (p<0.05, p<0.001, p<0.001, p<0.000001, respectively). Of the patients who switched because of LaE, LoE, and AEs a moderate/good EULAR response was achieved in 38.4%, 66.6%, and 88.8% of patients, respectively. Mean treatment duration with the second anti-TNFalpha was significantly longer in patients switching for LoE and AEs than in those switching for LaE (p<0.05).


The findings of this study suggest that RA patients may be successfully treated with another TNFalpha antagonist, especially those withdrawing for LoE or AEs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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