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Real-world outcomes among patients with early rapidly progressive rheumatoid arthritis


Klink AJ1, Curtice TG, Gupta K, Tuell KW, Szymialis AR, Nero D, Feinberg BA. Am J Manag Care. 2019 Oct 1;25(10):e288-e295.

Author Information

1 Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions, 7000 Cardinal Pl, Dublin, OH 43017. Email: andrew.klink@cardinalhealth.com.



To characterize treatment patterns, healthcare resource utilization (HRU), and disease activity among patients with early rapidly progressive rheumatoid arthritis (eRPRA) in the United States when treated with a first-line biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (bDMARD) tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF) inhibitor or first-line abatacept.


Observational, multicenter, retrospective, longitudinal, medical records-based, cohort study.


Patients with eRPRA were identified by anti-citrullinated protein antibody positivity, 28-joint Disease Activity Score-C-reactive protein of 3.2 or greater, symptomatic synovitis in 2 or more joints for at least 8 weeks prior to the index date, and onset of symptoms within 2 years or less of the index date. Patients received abatacept or a TNF inhibitor as first-line treatment. Patient characteristics, treatment patterns, HRU, and disease activity following bDMARD initiation were compared across the 2 groups. Odds ratios (ORs) of HRU in the first 6 months of bDMARD treatment were estimated using multivariable logistic regression to adjust for patient mix.


There were 60 patients treated with abatacept and 192 treated with a TNF inhibitor in the first line. Those treated with first-line abatacept had lower adjusted odds of hospitalization (OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.18-0.95), emergency department (ED) visits (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.16-0.93), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.21-0.97) than those treated with a first-line TNF inhibitor (all P <.05). Adjusted odds of achieving low disease activity as measured by clinical disease activity index within 100 days of bDMARD initiation favored first-line abatacept versus a first-line TNF inhibitor (OR, 4.37; 95% CI, 1.34-13.94; P = .01).


Adjusting for disease severity, patients with eRPRA who were treated with first-line abatacept were less likely to have hospitalizations, ED visits, and MRI use during the first 6 months of bDMARD treatment and more likely to achieve low disease activity within 100 days of bDMARD start compared with those who received a first-line TNF inhibitor.