Long-term use of adalimumab in the treatment of rheumatic diseases
Charalampos Papagoras, Paraskevi V Voulgari, Alexandros A Drosos
Rheumatology Clinic, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece
Abstract: Adalimumab, a fully humanized monoclonal antibody against tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα), has been evaluated in various randomized placebo-controlled trials in rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. In the short time frame of these trials adalimumab has been shown to be effective in reducing disease activity, slowing radiographic disease progression and improving patients’ quality of life, while at the same time demonstrating an acceptable safety profile. Furthermore, release of adalimumab on the market, prospective observational studies, as well as open-label extensions of the original double-blind trials have provided experience and data about the long-term efficacy and safety of the drug. Initial effectiveness, in terms of reducing disease activity, is sustained, while in most cases patients treated with adalimumab experienced a slower radiographic progression and consequently less disability and improved health-related quality-of-life outcomes. Moreover, long-standing treatment of thousands of patients with adalimumab outside the controlled context of clinical trials was not related to new safety signals, with the most common adverse events being respiratory infections. The most common serious adverse events seem to be tuberculosis reactivation, while a putative association with malignant lymphoma development is not yet proven. Besides, both of these adverse reactions pertain to the whole TNFα blocker group. In conclusion, adalimumab is a safe and effective option for the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Keywords: adalimumab, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis
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