Switching TNF antagonists in patients with chronic arthritis: an observational study of 488 patients over a four-year period
1 Rheumatology Service and Department of Medicine, Hospital Clinico Universitario, Medical School, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
2 Unidad de Investigacion, Sociedad Española de Reumatologia, Madrid, Spain
3 A list of participating investigators and centers appears in Acknowledgements
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:R29 doi:10.1186/ar1881Published: 6 January 2006
The objective of this work is to analyze the survival of infliximab, etanercept and adalimumab in patients who have switched among tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists for the treatment of chronic arthritis. BIOBADASER is a national registry of patients with different forms of chronic arthritis who are treated with biologics. Using this registry, we have analyzed patient switching of TNF antagonists. The cumulative discontinuation rate was calculated using the actuarial method. The log-rank test was used to compare survival curves, and Cox regression models were used to assess independent factors associated with discontinuing medication. Between February 2000 and September 2004, 4,706 patients were registered in BIOBADASER, of whom 68% had rheumatoid arthritis, 11% ankylosing spondylitis, 10% psoriatic arthritis, and 11% other forms of chronic arthritis. One- and two-year drug survival rates of the TNF antagonist were 0.83 and 0.75, respectively. There were 488 patients treated with more than one TNF antagonist. In this situation, survival of the second TNF antagonist decreased to 0.68 and 0.60 at 1 and 2 years, respectively. Survival was better in patients replacing the first TNF antagonist because of adverse events (hazard ratio (HR) for discontinuation 0.55 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.34–0.84)), and worse in patients older than 60 years (HR 1.10 (95% CI 0.97–2.49)) or who were treated with infliximab (HR 3.22 (95% CI 2.13–4.87)). In summary, in patients who require continuous therapy and have failed to respond to a TNF antagonist, replacement with a different TNF antagonist may be of use under certain situations. This issue will deserve continuous reassessment with the arrival of new medications.