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Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Aug;30(8):1063-7. doi: 10.1007/s10067-011-1680-y. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

The effectiveness and safety of TNF-alpha blockers in the treatment of early psoriatic arthritis: an Italian multicentre longitudinal observational pilot study.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Rheumatology Research Unit, Early Psoriatic Arthritis Clinic, University Federico II, via Sergio Pansini no. 5, Naples, Italy.


The objective of this study is to assess the effectiveness and safety of TNF-α blockers in a group of early psoriatic arthritis (PsA) patients with an unsatisfactory response to previous conventional treatment consecutively enrolled in five Italian centres. A 24-week open-label trial was carried out in consecutive early PsA patients classified according to the CASPAR criteria, with unsatisfactory response to previous treatments and with a DAS28 threshold as ≥3.2, seen at the outpatient clinics of each centre. Exclusion criteria were previous usage of TNF-α blockers and a disease duration >12 months. The choice of any of the three TNF-α blockers was decided by the expert's opinion, without any restriction. Effectiveness was considered as an improvement of DAS28 at 12 and 24 weeks of treatment. Secondary endpoints were an improvement of TJC, SWJ, HAQ score and PASI score. Changes from baseline to the 12- and 24-week follow-up assessments were analysed using the Wilcoxon paired sign rank test. Twenty-nine patients (14 males, 15 females, median age 37 years, range 20-65 years) were enrolled. A statistical improvement of the DAS28 was observed at 12 and 24 weeks from baseline (p<0.001). Secondary endpoints also confirmed the effectiveness of the TNF-α blockers in the treatment of early PsA. No severe adverse events were observed during the treatment period, and no patient withdrew from the medications. This study suggests that the TNF-α blockers can be effective in the management of early PsA. Further controlled studies will provide more data on this challenging topic.

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