In a nutshell
This study investigated the risk of heart failure in patients treated with either etanercept (Enbrel) or abatacept (Orencia) for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They found that these drugs do not increase the risk of heart failure.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is caused by chronic inflammation. This causes pain and swelling in the joints. Other organs can also be affected by RA inflammation. Many patients with RA have a high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Chemicals and proteins involved in inflammation are also associated with heart failure (HF).
To treat RA, patients are treated with drugs to reduce inflammation. Some studies suggest that RA drugs can reduce the risk of HF. Other studies suggest certain RA drugs increase the odds of HF. Etanercept (ETN) is a biologic RA drug that blocks tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a protein that causes inflammation. Abatacept (ABA) is a biologic RA drug that stops immune T cells from causing inflammation. It is unclear if ETN or ABA have any impact on the risk of HF.
Methods & findings
This study included 2537 patients with RA, treated with either ETN (1,690) or ABA (837). Patient information was extracted from medical records. The length of treatment and hospitalization for heart failure or death were recorded.
Patients treated with ABA were more likely to have worse CVD. HF occurred in 1.4% (12) of patients that took ABA and 0.77% (13) patients that took ETN. The risk of HF was similar in ABA- and ETN -treated patients. There was no difference in the mortality rates between ABA and ETN patients.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that ETN and ABA do not increase the risk of heart failure in patients with RA.
The fine print
The severity of HF or the cause of death was not analyzed in this study. Evidence on RA symptoms was also not included.
If you have any concerns regarding RA treatment, please consult with your physician.
Published By :
Nov 10, 2018
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