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Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2015 Apr;44(5):499-505. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2014.09.009. Epub 2014 Sep 28.

The durability of abatacept as a first and subsequent biologic and improvement in HAQ from a large multi-site real-world study.

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Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, St Joseph׳s Health Care, University of Western Ontario, 268 Grosvenor St, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 4V2. Electronic address:
Department of Surgical Epidemiology, JSS Research, St Laurent, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Surgical Epidemiology, JSS Research, St Laurent, Quebec, Canada; Department of Experimental Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



Assessment of the effectiveness of newer biologics such as abatacept is essential in real-world practice.


RA patients administered infusions of abatacept via the Orencia Response Program network with at least one follow-up evaluation were included. The number needed to treat (NNT) to improve HAQ by at least the minimal clinically important difference (MID ≥ 0.22) and abatacept survival and differences between biologic-naïve and TNFi-experienced patients were assessed.


Among 2929 patients enrolled, 1771 (60.5%) were eligible for analysis (mean age was 57.6 years, disease duration was 16.5 ± 11.0 (SD) years, 77.2% were female, and 79.2% had past TNFi), with mean follow-up of 13.8 ± 12.3 (SD) months. Half had comorbidities including hypertension (17%), diabetes (8.4%), asthma (6.0%), hypothyroidism (5.7%), and hyperlipidemia (4.0%). Mean (SE) durability of treatment was 26.8 (0.53) months, where 66% were receiving abatacept at 12 months and 53% at 24 months. Patient survival was longer where abatacept was the first biologic vs. post-TNFi (P = 0.0001). In the use of abatacept as a first biologic, 70% achieved MID in HAQ vs. 71% if post-TNFi (P = 0.65) with NNT to improve one patient with at least MID of HAQ was 1.4.


Abatacept is effective in improving HAQ in RA both pre and post first biologic in real-world patients with comorbidities. For those still on abatacept, HAQ continued to improve over the first 2 years. The durability of abatacept is better as a first biologic, but NNT to improve HAQ patients on treatment is the same post-DMARDs and post-TNFi. For treatment durability and HAQ MID achievement, abatacept use as a first biologic is better.


Abatacept; Cohort; Comorbidities; Database; Durability; First biologic; Function; HAQ; Health Assessment Questionnaire disability index; Number needed to treat (NNT); Post-TNFi; Real-world practice; Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

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