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Clin Rheumatol. 2014 Feb;33(2):165-73. doi: 10.1007/s10067-013-2452-7. Epub 2014 Jan 4.

Tofacitinib for acute rheumatoid arthritis patients who have had an inadequate response to disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD): a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Evidence-Based Medicine Center, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu, 730000, China.


The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to assess the efficacy and safety of tofacitinib for the treatment of patients with acute rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have had an inadequate response to disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). Randomized controlled trials were searched in MEDLINE (1966-2013), Embase (1947-2013), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (1948-2013), WHO International Clinical Trial Registration Platform (2004-2013), Clinical (1999-2013), and China Biology Medicine disc (1978-2013). The review included 10 studies involving 4,929 patients. A pooled analysis of six studies showed that tofacitinib had a superior effect over placebo (both with background therapy) at weeks 12 and 24. Also, the pooled results of three studies showed that tofacitinib monotherapy had a significantly greater effect over placebo. Compared to adalimumab, tofacitinib was found to be more efficacious as well. For safety, tofacitinib monotherapy had less serious adverse events (sAE) than placebo but not other adverse effects (oAE). In the comparison of tofacitinib and placebo both with background therapy, no difference in sAE and oAE were found. However, the quality of the evidence was quite low when evaluated using GRADE. Tofacitinib alone, or together with non-biologic DMARDs, was associated with more favorable remission in the signs and symptoms of RA than adalimumab or placebo. Also, tofacitinib monotherapy was safer than placebo with regards to reported sAE, but not oAE. However, the quality of evidence is exceedingly low; long-term, large-scale, and high-quality post-marketing research is suggested to further verify the conclusion.

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