Anti-TNFα therapy in a cohort of rheumatoid arthritis patients: Clinical outcomes

Chiara Bazzani, Matteo Filippini, Roberto Caporali, Francesca Bobbio-Pallavicini, Ennio Giulio Favalli, Antonio Marchesoni, Fabiola Atzeni, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini, Roberto Gorla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of anti-TNFα agents by analysing the principal clinical outcomes in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods: 1010 patients who received no clinical benefit from previous treatment with methotrexate and/or other DMARDs, were subsequently treated with one or more of the anti-TNFα agents. Results: After the first six months of anti-TNFα therapy, 29% of the patients showed a good and 47% a moderate European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response, and this positive result was maintained after two years of follow-up. Their median Disease Activity Score based on the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and the evaluation of 28 joints (DAS28) decreased from 5.94 at baseline to 4 after six months (p <0.001; Δ 1.94), and further significant responses were also observed after 12, 18 and 24 months; their median 36-month DAS28 score reflected mild disease activity. The median Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) score fell from 1.34 at baseline to 1 after six months of therapy (Δ 0.34; p <0.05), and a further significant reduction was observed during the second and third year of follow up. Conclusions: Especially when combined with DMARDs, anti-TNFα drugs can induce a good clinical response regardless of the particular molecule used, whereas their combination with steroids does not seem to improve disease outcomes at any time during follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-265
Number of pages6
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


  • Anti-TNF-alpha treatment
  • Biological drugs
  • Disease outcomes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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