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A Matching-Adjusted Indirect Comparison of Upadacitinib Versus Tofacitinib in Adults with Moderate-to-Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis


Rheumatol Ther. 2020 Nov 26. doi: 10.1007/s40744-020-00257-w. Online ahead of print.

Christopher J Edwards 1Ruta Sawant 2Vishvas Garg 2Ella X Du 3Alan Friedman 2Keith A Betts 4

Author Information

1 NIHR Clinical Research Facility, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK.

2 AbbVie, Inc., North Chicago, IL, USA.

3 Analysis Group, Inc., Los Angeles, CA, USA.

4 Analysis Group, Inc., Los Angeles, CA, USA. keith.betts@analysisgroup.com.

Free article


Introduction: Upadacitinib and tofacitinib are Janus kinase inhibitors approved for moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In the absence of head-to-head trials comparing their effectiveness, this study assessed the efficacy of upadacitinib 15 mg once-daily monotherapy/combination therapy against tofacitinib 5 mg twice-daily combination therapy among patients with RA using matching-adjusted indirect comparisons (MAICs).

Methods: The first of two MAICs used individual patient data (IPD) from the 14-week SELECT-MONOTHERAPY trial (upadacitinib [n = 217] vs. methotrexate [n = 216]) and published data from the ORAL Standard trial (tofacitinib + methotrexate [n = 204] vs. methotrexate [n = 108]). The second MAIC used IPD from the 26-week SELECT-COMPARE trial (upadacitinib + methotrexate [n = 647] vs. adalimumab + methotrexate [n = 324]) and published data from ORAL Strategy (tofacitinib + methotrexate [n = 376] vs. adalimumab + methotrexate [n = 386]). Data from patients in the upadacitinib trials were re-weighted based on age, sex, race, swollen joint count 66/28, tender joint count 68/28, C-reactive protein (CRP), and patients' global assessments to match the patient characteristics in tofacitinib trials. After matching, ACR20/50/70 and clinical remission (SDAI[CRP] ≤ 3.3, CDAI ≤ 2.8, DAS28-ESR/CRP < 2.6) were compared for upadacitinib vs. tofacitinib + methotrexate at month 3 and upadacitinib + methotrexate vs. tofacitinib + methotrexate at months 3 and 6 using Wald tests.

Results: At month 3, upadacitinib monotherapy patients experienced significantly larger improvement in ACR70 compared to tofacitinib + methotrexate (mean difference in difference [DID]: 9.9%; p = 0.019), while upadacitinib + methotrexate was associated with higher ACR50 compared to tofacitinib + methotrexate (DID: 12.9%; p = 0.011). At month 6, upadacitinib + methotrexate patients experienced significantly larger improvement in SDAI/CDAI/DAS28-ESR clinical remission compared to tofacitinib + methotrexate, with DIDs of 9.1% (p = 0.011), 7.5% (p = 0.038), and 11.3% (p = 0.002), respectively.

Conclusions: Compared to tofacitinib combination therapy, treatment with upadacitinib monotherapy and combination therapy were associated with improved outcomes at 3/6 months (monotherapy: ACR70; combination: ACR50, SDAI, CDAI, and DAS28-ESR remission).