To assess the long-term effectiveness and safety of tocilizumab, abatacept, and tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors (TNFi), in the Italian real-world setting of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The records of adult RA patients from the Italian biologics’ registry Gruppo Italiano Studio Early Arthritis (GISEA) were analyzed. Demographic and clinical data were obtained at entry. The disease remission rate (28-joint disease activity score calculated using the erythrocyte sedimentation rate [DAS28-ESR] ≤ 2.6) and frequency of adverse events (AEs) were evaluated at 2 years. From 1999 to 2014, 7539 patients were treated with biologics (61.3% in first- and 22.6% in second-line), 68% of cases received TNFi, 9.1% tocilizumab, and 8.6% abatacept. Treatment groups showed a similar DAS28 at entry. As first-line, tocilizumab induced a significantly higher remission rate than abatacept or TNFi at 6 (51 vs 23.3 and 26.2%, respectively; p < 0.0001) and 24 months (52.3 vs 33.3 and 34.4%, respectively; p < 0.01). A similar pattern was observed in later lines. The most common AEs reported were infections, reactions to biologics (more frequent among TNFi-treated patients), increased transaminase (more frequent among TCZ-treated patients), and cardiovascular events. In clinical practice, TCZ induced a rapid and long-lasting remission and in a higher percentage of patients compared to abatacept and TNFi, with a good safety profile.
- Rheumatoid arthritis