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Ann Rheum Dis. 2009 Jul;68(7):1146-52. doi: 10.1136/ard.2007.087106. Epub 2008 Sep 15.

Efficacy, safety and patient-reported outcomes of combination etanercept and sulfasalazine versus etanercept alone in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a double-blind randomised 2-year study.

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  • 1Service d'Immuno-Rhumatologie, Hopital Lapeyronie, Montpellier, France.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the efficacy and safety of etanercept and etanercept plus sulfasalazine versus sulfasalazine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) despite sulfasalazine therapy.

METHODS:

Patients were randomly assigned to etanercept (25 mg twice weekly; sulfasalazine was discontinued at baseline), etanercept plus sulfasalazine (unchanged regimen of 2-3 g/day) or sulfasalazine in a double-blind, randomised, 2-year study in adult patients with active RA despite sulfasalazine therapy. Efficacy was assessed using the American College of Rheumatology criteria, disease activity scores (DAS) and patient-reported outcomes (PRO).

RESULTS:

Demographic variables and baseline disease characteristics were comparable among treatment groups; mean DAS 5.1, 5.2 and 5.1 for etanercept (n = 103), etanercept plus sulfasalazine (n = 101) and sulfasalazine (n = 50), respectively. Withdrawal due to lack of efficacy was highest with sulfasalazine (26 (52%) vs 6 (6%) for either etanercept group, p<0.001). Patients receiving etanercept or etanercept plus sulfasalazine had a more rapid initial response, which was sustained at 2 years, than those receiving sulfasalazine: mean DAS 2.8, 2.5 versus 4.5, respectively (p<0.05); ACR 20 response was achieved by 67%, 77% versus 34% of patients, respectively (p<0.01) Overall, PRO followed a similar pattern; a clinically significant improvement in health assessment questionnaire was achieved by 76%, 78% versus 40% of patients, respectively (p<0.01). Commonly reported adverse events occurring in the etanercept groups were injection site reactions and pharyngitis/laryngitis (p<0.01).

CONCLUSION:

Etanercept and etanercept plus sulfasalazine are efficacious for the long-term management of patients with RA. The addition of etanercept or substitution with etanercept should be considered as treatment options for patients not adequately responding to sulfasalazine.

PMID:
18794178
PMCID:
PMC2689524
DOI:
10.1136/ard.2007.087106
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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