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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018 Oct 1;57(57 Suppl 7):vii32-vii41. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/key076.

Immediate treatment with tumour necrosis factor inhibitors in synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs-naïve patients with rheumatoid arthritis: results of a modified Italian Expert Consensus.

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Department of Medical Sciences, University of Ferrara and Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Sant'Anna, Cona (Ferrara).
Dipartimento di Clinica e Terapia Medica, Sapienza Università di Roma, Reumatologia, Roma.
Department of Lucania, San Carlo Hospital, Rheumatology Unit, Potenza.
Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neurosciences, University of Siena, Rheumatology section, Siena.
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Rheumatology Unit, Pisa.
University Campus Bio-Medico, Clinical Medicine and Immunology, Roma.
Ospedale di Trento, Rheumatology Unit, Trento.
Division of Rheumatology, University of Padova, Padova.
University of Milan, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.



To establish clinical consensus for the optimal placement of TNF inhibitor (TNFi) in DMARDs-naïve RA patients.


The steering group was composed of 15 Italian rheumatologists expert in the field of RA, who proposed and selected by consensus the clinically relevant questions on the role of TNFi treatment in DMARDs-naïve RA patients. The question was rephrased according to the population, intervention, comparison and outcome statement. The available scientific evidence on this topic were collected by updating the systematic literature reviews used for the EULAR 2013 recommendations up to January 2016. The aspects evaluated in the studies concerned clinical efficacy, radiographic structural damage and safety. After the systematic literature review the expert panel formulated a consensus statement, and a modified Delphi panel evaluated the level of agreement between panellists (strength of recommendation).


From a total of 1080 records we have included 6 studies, 2 randomized clinical trials and 4 open-label extension trials. Evidence from publications generated three statements for the final consensus document. The systematic literature review and the consensus statements developed showed that, for patients with early RA and in the presence of a treat-to-target strategy, the immediate use of anti-TNFi compared with an early (within 12 weeks) step-up to anti-TNF therapy did not confer a significant advantage regarding clinical, functional and radiographic outcomes.


The most appropriate placement of the TNFi therapy in the treatment algorithm of early RA still remains a challenging clinical question that needs to be further addressed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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