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Treatment Persistence and Clinical Outcomes of Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor Cycling or Switching to a New Mechanism of Action Therapy: Real-world Observational Study of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients in the United States with Prior Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor Therapy

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Wei W1, Knapp K2, Wang L3, Chen CI4, Craig GL2, Ferguson K2, Schwartzman S5. Adv Ther. 2017 Aug;34(8):1936-1952. doi: 10.1007/s12325-017-0578-8. Epub 2017 Jul 3.


Author information 1 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Tarrytown, NY, USA. wenhui.wei@regeneron.com.

2 Discus Analytics, LLC, Spokane, WA, USA.

3 STATinMED Research, Plano, TX, USA.

4 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Tarrytown, NY, USA.

5 The Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA.


To examine treatment persistence and clinical outcomes associated with switching from a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) to a medication with a new mechanism of action (MOA) (abatacept, anakinra, rituximab, tocilizumab, or tofacitinib) versus cycling to another TNFi (adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab, or infliximab) among patients with rheumatoid arthritis.


This retrospective, longitudinal study included patients with rheumatoid arthritis in the JointMan® US clinical database who received a TNFi in April 2010 or later and either cycled to a TNFi or switched to a new MOA therapy by March 2015. Cox proportional hazards models were used for time to non-persistence (switching or discontinuing). An ordinary least squares regression model compared 1-year reduction from baseline for the Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI).


There were 332 (54.2%) TNFi cyclers and 281 (45.8%) new MOA switchers. During a median follow-up of 29.9 months, treatment persistence was 36.7% overall. Compared with new MOA switchers, TNFi cyclers were 51% more likely to be non-persistent (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.511; 95% CI 1.196, 1.908), driven by a higher likelihood of switching again (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.016; 95% CI 1.428, 2.847). Clinical outcomes were evaluable for 239 (53.3%) TNFi cyclers and 209 (46.7%) new MOA switchers. One-year mean reduction in CDAI from baseline to end of follow-up was significantly higher for new MOA switchers than TNFi cyclers (-7.54 vs. -4.81; P = 0.037), but the difference was not statistically significant after adjustment for baseline CDAI (-6.39 vs. -5.83; P = 0.607).


In this study, TNFi cycling was common in clinical practice, but switching to a new MOA DMARD was associated with significantly better treatment persistence and a trend toward greater CDAI reduction that was not significant after adjustment for baseline disease activity.


Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.