ACR: Adalimumab Effective in Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Anti-TNF therapy effective and safe with and without methotrexate

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The tumor necrosis factor-alpha blocker adalimumab, with or without methotrexate (MTX), safely and rapidly cuts down on flares among patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Washington, D.C.

Daniel J. Lovell, M.D., M.P.H., of the Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group in Cincinnati, Ohio, and colleagues conducted a 48-week randomized study of 171 children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis who were classified as taking or not taking MTX at the study's inception. Patients received a subcutaneous injection of adalimumab based on their size every two weeks for 16 weeks. Those who responded were then randomized to receive adalimumab or placebo for the following 32 weeks, or until a flare occurred.

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis patients who received adalimumab had fewer flares than their counterparts who received placebo. Specifically, 43 percent of patients taking adalimumab without MTX flared, compared to 71 percent on placebo and not MTX. Among patients already on MTX, 37 percent of those taking adalimumab flared, compared to 65 percent who received placebo. Side effects were mild and no tuberculosis or opportunistic infections were reported.

"Given that the medication was generally well tolerated, adalimumab has emerged as an excellent treatment option for children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis," Lovell said in a statement.


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