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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2011 Mar;50(3):437-49. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keq287. Epub 2010 Sep 28.

Abatacept treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

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School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA.


Significant advances in our understanding of RA and its management have been made in the past decade, resulting in earlier intervention with biologic DMARDs, particularly in patients with evidence of aggressive, erosive disease. Here, one such biologic therapy, the T-cell co-stimulation modulator abatacept, is discussed, exploring clinical evidence published to date on its use in patients with very early arthritis/early RA who are MTX naïve, and in patients with established RA and an inadequate response to MTX or TNF antagonists. Data from relevant clinical trials are overviewed, discussing the clinical efficacy of abatacept in early disease, the clinical outcomes over long-term treatment in different patient populations and the effects of abatacept on structural damage. Findings from integrated safety analyses of abatacept clinical trial data, representing 10,366 patient-years of exposure are described, and clinically important safety events, including serious infections, malignancies and autoimmune events, are highlighted. It is concluded that abatacept represents an effective treatment option with an established safety profile across different patient populations, including patients with both early and erosive RA and those with established disease. Furthermore, efficacy data from studies in patients with early disease suggest that the risk-benefit profile of abatacept may be more favourable when introduced earlier in the treatment paradigm.

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