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Efficacy and safety of tocilizumab in refractory rheumatoid arthritis: a real life cohort from a single centre

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2014 Vol.32, N°4
PI 0460, PF 0464
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PMID: 24960220 [PubMed]

Received: 25/06/2013
Accepted : 20/11/2013
In Press: 23/06/2014
Published: 23/07/2014


Tocilizumab (TCZ) is an effective treatment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) refractory to anti-tumour necrosis factor-α. However, only few studies in real life have evaluated the efficacy of TCZ in long-standing rheumatoid arthritis (LSRA). Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab in refractory LSRA.
Twenty-seven consecutive patients with refractory LSRA treated with at least one biologic agent were enrolled in a 19-month study in a single centre. Demographic [age, gender, disease duration, body mass index (BMI), previous therapies], clinical [total swollen and tender joints count (SJC-TJC) on 28, 44 and 68 joints, DAS28, Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), infections, cardiovascular, renal, pulmonary and metabolic comorbidities], and serological [erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies] data were collected. Patients were evaluated at baseline, and after three and six months.
Mean disease duration was 16.75±9.94 years. Seventeen out of 27 (62.9%) were RF positive and 13/27 (48.1%) were CCP positive. All of them experienced at least one previous biological agent (mean value 1.9±1.15; range 1–6). We observed a progressive reduction in all clinical and clinimetric features evaluated as well as a progressive reduction in steroids use. The EULAR response also improved. By analysing the RF positive subgroup we found that there is a better clinical response both at the 3rd and 6th month.
TCZ is an effective and safe treatment in refractory LSRA.

Rheumatology Article