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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2013 Nov-Dec;31(6):937-9. Epub 2013 Sep 10.

Biologics in relapsing polychondritis: a case series.

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Internal Medicine Department, Toulouse University Hospital, UMR INSERM-UPS 1027, University of Toulouse, Toulouse, France.



To describe the effects of biologics in an unbiased series of relapsing polychondritis cases.


We extracted all the cases encoded 'polychondritis' from the computerized medical files of our department. The relapsing polychondritis diagnosis was confirmed using Damiani's criteria. Patients treated with biologics were evaluated for efficacy and adverse drugs reactions until October 2012.


Nine patients were exposed to 22 biologics as corticosteroid-sparing drugs. Biologics were used at the same doses as in rheumatoid arthritis. Mean duration of exposure to biologics was 28 months. A TNF-antagonist was most frequently used as first-line biologic therapy (7/9), leading to partial or complete efficacy in six cases (85.7%). Loss of efficacy occurred in 5 cases. Abatacept (n=3) and tocilizumab (n=2) were effective as second-line biologic therapy while anakinra (n=2) and certolizumab (n=1) were not. Seven serious adverse drug reactions occurred, including 5 infections.


TNF-α antagonists may be proposed earlier in relapsing polychondritis to spare corticosteroids. Switching to another biologic can be proposed in case of loss of efficacy. Tocilizumab or abatacept can be proposed as third-line therapy. The benefit-to-risk ratio of biologics in relapsing polychondritis should be evaluated prospectively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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