Objective: To assess the time in remission after discontinuing biologic therapy in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Methods: We enrolled 135 patients followed in 3 tertiary-care centers. The primary outcome was to assess, once remission was achieved, the time in remission up to the first flare after discontinuing treatment. Mann-Whitney U test, Wilcoxon's signed rank test for paired samples, chi-square tests, and Fisher's exact test were used to compare data. Pearson's and Spearman's correlation tests were used to determine correlation coefficients for different variables. To identify predictors of outcome, Cox regression model and Kaplan-Meier curves were constructed, each one at the mean of entered covariates. Results: The majority of enrolled patients flared after stopping treatment with biologics (102 of 135, 75.6%) after a median followup time in remission off therapy of 6 months (range 3–109 months). A higher probability of maintaining remission after discontinuing treatment was present in systemic-onset disease compared to the rest of the JIA patients (Mantel-Cox χ2 = 8.31, P < 0.004). In analysis limited to children with JIA with polyarticular and oligoarticular disease, patients who received biologics >2 years after achieving remission had a higher probability of maintaining such remission off therapy (mean ± SD 18.64 ± 3.3 months versus 11.51 ± 2.7 months [P < 0.009]; Mantel-Cox χ2 = 9.06, P < 0.002). No other clinical variable was significantly associated with a long-lasting remission. Conclusion: Children with oligoarticular and polyarticular JIA who stop treatment before 2 years from remission have a higher chance of relapsing after biologic withdrawal.
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