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Up to 5-year Retention of Abatacept in Belgian Patients With Moderate-To-Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Sub-Analysis of the International, Observational ACTION Study


Rheumatol Int. 2020 Jun 17. doi: 10.1007/s00296-020-04619-z. Online ahead of print.

R Westhovens 1, S E Connolly 2, J Margaux 3, M Vanden Berghe 4, M Maertens 5, M Van den Berghe 6, Y Elbez 7, M Chartier 8, F Baeke 9, S Robert 9, M Malaise 10

Author Information

1 Department of Development and Regeneration, Skeletal Biology and Engineering Research Center Leuven, University Hospitals Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000, Leuven, Belgium. rene.westhovens@uzleuven.be.

2 Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ, USA.

3 Rheumatology and Physical Medicine Department, Erasme Hospital, Brussels, Belgium.

4 Grand Hôpital de Charleroi, Charleroi, Belgium.

5 AZ Damiaan, Oostende, Belgium.

6 ASZ Aalst, Wetteren, Belgium.

7 Excelya, Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

8 Bristol-Myers Squibb, Rueil Malmaison, France.

9 Bristol-Myers Squibb, Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium.

10 CHU Sart Tilman, Liège, Belgium.


Favorable efficacy and safety profiles have been demonstrated for abatacept in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in randomized controlled trials, but these data require validation during long-term follow-ups in routine clinical practice. This study explored long-term safety and retention rates in RA patients treated with intravenous abatacept in the Belgian cohort of the international AbataCepT In rOutiNe clinical practice (ACTION) study (NCT02109666). This non-interventional, observational, longitudinal study included Belgian patients aged ≥ 18 years with moderate-to-severe RA who started intravenous abatacept treatment as first- or second/further-line biologic therapy in routine clinical practice. Between October 2010 and December 2012, 141 patients were enrolled in this cohort, of whom 135 evaluable patients (6 biologic-naïve; 129 previously exposed to ≥ 1 prior biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) were eligible for the descriptive analysis; 131/135 were included in the effectiveness analysis. Mean disease duration was 10.5 years (standard deviation 9.7) before abatacept initiation. RA patients presented with high disease activity and comorbidity rate, having failed multiple previous treatment options. In this cohort, the 5-year abatacept retention rate was 34% (95% confidence interval, 23-45%) per protocol, and 51% (95% confidence interval, 40-61%) when temporary discontinuations of abatacept > 84 days (n = 24) were not considered as treatment discontinuations. After 5 years of abatacept treatment, clinical outcomes were favorable [good/moderate European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) responses in 91.7% patients]. No new safety signals were detected for abatacept in routine clinical practice. In this difficult-to-treat Belgian RA population, high retention rates, good clinical outcomes and favorable safety profile were observed with abatacept.