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J Rheumatol. 2011 Mar;38(3):516-8. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.100718. Epub 2010 Dec 15.

Anti-interleukin 1 treatment for patients with familial Mediterranean fever resistant to colchicine.

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Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.



Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is a recessively inherited autoinflammatory disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of fever and serositis. Although colchicine is the standard therapy for preventing attacks and suppressing inflammation, 5%-10% of compliant patients are colchicine-resistant. We report the effect of anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy (etanercept) and anti-interleukin 1 (IL-1) treatment (anakinra) in 6 cases resistant to colchicine therapy.


Five children and an adult patient (3 female, 3 male) who were experiencing at least 2 attacks per month and had consistently elevated C-reactive protein levels despite regular colchicine therapy were given either etanercept or anakinra.


Although etanercept lowered the number of attacks (from 3-4 attacks per month to 2 attacks per month), attacks still recurred and acute-phase reactants remained high in 2 patients; thus etanercept was considered ineffective. All 4 patients were switched to anakinra. In 2 patients anakinra completely resolved clinical and laboratory findings. The other 4 patients have been switched to anakinra recently; to date anakinra has reduced the number of attacks (to < 1 per month) and lowered the levels of acute-phase reactants.


In this small series, anakinra was successful in suppressing inflammation and decreasing the number of attacks in FMF. This may be explained by the role of pyrin in the regulation of IL-1ß activation.

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