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Rheumatol Int. 2009 Feb;29(4):459-61. doi: 10.1007/s00296-008-0694-5. Epub 2008 Sep 18.

Efficacy of tacrolimus in infliximab-refractory progressive rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Rheumatology and Applied Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Saitama Medical University, Iruma-gun, Saitama, Japan.


We report a Japanese male patient with intractable rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in whom tacrolimus was effective ultimately. Five years before the admission he was diagnosed as RA, which was resistant to various disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Two years before, administration of infliximab was initiated although the medicine failed to control RA. In spite of the multiple joint replacement, the RA disease activity worsened. Tacrolimus (1.5 mg/day) was administered. Twenty-four weeks of tacrolimus treatment reduced the disease activity score for 28 joints-erythrocyte sedimentation rate from 7.44 to 3.65. Herein, we present a patient with RA, who was successfully treated by tacrolimus, and in whom infliximab was not effective. Tacrolimus may be one of the drugs for RA patients refractory to the conventional treatments including methotrexate or tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.

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