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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2020 Mar 1;59(3):568-574. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kez324.

Experience with tofacitinib in Canada: patient characteristics and treatment patterns in rheumatoid arthritis over 3 years.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Western University, London, ON, Canada.
Department of Medicine, Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada.
Division of Rheumatology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Pfizer Inc., Montreal, QC, Canada.
Pfizer Inc., Collegeville, PA, USA.
Pfizer Inc., Groton, CT, USA.
Business Intelligence Consulting, Innomar Strategies Inc., Oakville, ON, Canada.
Pfizer Canada, Montreal, QC, Canada.
Clinical Research Unit, Institut de Rhumatologie de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada.



To describe characteristics, treatment patterns and persistence in patients with RA treated with tofacitinib, an oral Janus kinase inhibitor, in Canadian clinical practice between 1 June 2014 and 31 May 2017.


Data were obtained from the tofacitinib eXel support programme. Baseline demographics and medication history were collected via patient report/special authorization forms; reasons for discontinuation were captured by patient report. Treatment persistence was estimated using Kaplan-Meier methods, with data censored at last follow-up. Cox regression was applied to analyse baseline characteristics associated with treatment discontinuation.


The number of patients with RA enrolled from 2014 to 2017 was 4276; tofacitinib utilization increased during that period, as did the proportion of biologic (b) DMARD-naïve patients prescribed tofacitinib. Of patients who initiated tofacitinib, 1226/3678 (33.3%) discontinued, mostly from lack of efficacy (35.7%) and adverse events (26.9%). Persistence was 62.7% and 49.6% after 1 and 2 years of treatment, respectively. Prior bDMARD experience predicted increased tofacitinib discontinuation (vs bDMARD-naïve, P < 0.001). Increased retention was associated with older age (56-65 years and >65 years vs ⩽45 years; P < 0.05), and time since diagnosis of 15 to <20 years (vs <5 years; P < 0.01). In bDMARD-naïve, post-1 bDMARD, post-2 bDMARD and post-⩾3 bDMARD patients, median survival was >730, 613, 667 and 592 days, respectively.


Since 2014, tofacitinib use in Canadian patients with RA increased, especially among bDMARD-naïve/post-1 bDMARD patients. Median drug survival was ∼2 years. Likelihood of persistence increased for bDMARD-naïve (vs bDMARD-experienced) patients and those aged ⩾56 (vs ⩽45) years.


drug persistence; patient-support programme; real-world data; rheumatoid arthritis; tofacitinib; utilization

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