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Golimumab Plus Methotrexate May Inhibit RA Progression

Combined treatment inhibits radiographic progression in methotrexate-naive patients

MONDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- Golimumab plus methotrexate (MTX) inhibits radiographic progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in MTX-naive patients significantly better than MTX alone, according to a study published in the May issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Paul Emery, M.D., from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed the effects of golimumab on radiographic progression. A group of 637 patients from the Golimumab Before Employing MTX as the First-Line Option in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis of Early Onset (GO-BEFORE) study who were MTX naive, and 444 patients with active RA despite MTX treatment from the Golimumab For Subjects With Active RA Despite MTX (GO-FORWARD) study were randomized to four treatment groups. Groups were placebo plus MTX, 100 mg golimumab plus placebo, 50 mg golimumab plus MTX, or 100 mg golimumab plus MTX. Radiographs of the hands and feet were taken at baseline, during follow-up, and at 52 weeks, and were scored using the van der Heijde modification of the Sharp score.

The investigators found that, in the GO-BEFORE study, the average change in modified Sharp score from baseline to 52 weeks was significant in groups treated with 50 or 100 mg golimumab plus MTX, but not in golimumab or MTX with placebo. In the GO-FORWARD study, the average change in modified Sharp score from baseline to 24 weeks was not significant in any of the treatment groups.

"Minimal radiographic progression was observed in all treatment arms of the GO-FORWARD study," the authors write. "Results of the GO-BEFORE study showed that golimumab plus MTX inhibited radiographic progression not only in patients with early RA, but also in a subset of patients with more established disease."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, including Centocor and Schering Plough/Merck, which supported the study.

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