OBJECTIVE:To investigate whether the reason for discontinuation of the first tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocking agent influences the effect of a second TNF blocking agent.
METHODS:Data were used from 2 Dutch registries including patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with TNF blocking agents. Patients were divided into 3 groups based on reason for discontinuation of the first: nonresponse, loss of response, or adverse events. The primary outcome was the change from baseline of the disease activity (by DAS28) at 6 months, corrected for the baseline DAS28 score. Secondary outcomes were the change from baseline at 3 months, EULAR response rates, and the percentages of patients who reached a DAS28 score < or = 3.2 at 3 and at 6 months.
RESULTS:In total, 49 patients who failed due to nonresponse, 75 due to loss of response, and 73 due to adverse events were included. At 6 months, the change of DAS28 score from baseline did not differ significantly between the groups (-0.6 to -1.3; p > or = 0.173) and similar good and moderate response rates were found (12% to 18%, p > or = 0.523, and 34% to 55%, p > or = 0.078, respectively). The secondary outcomes were also comparable between the 3 groups.
CONCLUSION:The results of our observational study suggest that a second TNF blocking agent may be effective after failure of the first, regardless of the reason for discontinuation of the first TNF blocking agent.