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Intern Med. 2019 Feb 15;58(4):511-519. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.1332-18. Epub 2018 Sep 12.

An Analysis of the Biological Disease-modifying Antirheumatic Drug-free Condition of Adalimumab-treated Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients.

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Department of Rheumatology, Niigata Rheumatic Center, Japan.
Division of Clinical Nephrology and Rheumatology, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Japan.


Objectives The present study was performed with the aim of analyzing the biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (bDMARD)-free (Bio-free) condition of adalimumab (ADA)-treated rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in a real-world setting. Methods ADA was used in the treatment of 130 (male, n=21; female, n=109 females) RA patients. Among them, 26 patients (20.0%) discontinued ADA due to a good response. We analyzed 20 patients who were followed up for more than 6 months after the discontinuation of ADA. The Disease Activity Score 28 based on C-reactive protein (DAS28-CRP) and modified health assessment questionnaires (mHAQs) were evaluated. Results The mean age of the patients was 53.4±11.1 years. The mean disease duration was 4.5±4.3 years. Sixteen patients were bDMARD-naïve, while 4 switched from bDMARDs to ADA. At 6 months after the discontinuation ADA, 19 patients had achieved a clinical remission, and 1 had achieved a low disease activity. The Bio-free period was 26.4±15.5 months. The dose of prednisolone was significantly reduced from baseline (3.45±3.17 mg/day) at 6 months after the discontinuation of ADA (2.63±2.78 mg/day). The dose of methotrexate was unchanged. The number of conventional synthetic DMARDs (csDMARDs) was significantly increased (0.8±0.6 to 1.4±1.06). The mHAQ values were significantly ameliorated by ADA and remained good in patients with a Bio-free condition. A multivariate analysis showed that the dose of methotrexate (MTX) was an important factor for achieving a Bio-free condition. Conclusion A sustainable Bio-free condition in a real clinical setting can be achieved and may be a suitable way of reducing medical costs. The dose of MTX and the additional administration of csDMARDs is therefore thought to be important for ensuring a good outcome in these patients.


adalimumab; biologics free condition; conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs; methotrexate; rheumatoid arthritis

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