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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2017 Jul-Aug;35(4):689-699. Epub 2017 Jan 5.

A comparison of discontinuation rates of tofacitinib and biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and Bayesian network meta-analysis.

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School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.
Department of Information Statistics, Andong National University, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea.
College of Pharmacy, Sahmyook University, Seoul, South Korea.
School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.



The purpose of this study was to compare the discontinuation rates of tofacitinib and biologics (tumour necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi), abatacept, rituximab, and tocilizumab) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients considering inadequate responses (IRs) to previous treatment(s).


Randomised controlled trials of tofacitinib and biologics - reporting at least one total discontinuation, discontinuation due to lack of efficacy (LOE), and discontinuation due to adverse events (AEs) - were identified through systematic review. The analyses were conducted for patients with IRs to conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (cDMARDs) and for patients with biologics-IR, separately. Bayesian network meta-analysis was used to estimate rate ratio (RR) of a biologic relative to tofacitinib with 95% credible interval (CrI), and probability of RR being <1 (P[RR<1]).


The analyses of 34 studies showed no significant differences in discontinuation rates between tofacitinib and biologics in the cDMARDs-IR group. In the biologics-IR group, however, TNFi (RR 0.17, 95% CrI 0.01-3.61, P[RR<1] 92.0%) and rituximab (RR 0.20, 95% CrI 0.01-2.91, P[RR<1] 92.3%) showed significantly lower total discontinuation rates than tofacitinib did. Despite the difference, discontinuation cases owing to LOE and AEs revealed that tofacitinib was comparable to the biologics.


The comparability of discontinuation rate between tofacitinib and biologics was different based on previous treatments and discontinuation reasons: LOE, AEs, and total (due to other reasons). Therefore, those factors need to be considered to decide the optimal treatment strategy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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