Welcome to Medivizor!

You're browsing our sample library. Feel free to continue browsing. You can also sign up for free to receive medical information specific to your situation.

Posted by on Sep 29, 2018 in Rheumatoid Arthritis | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the effects of tocilizumab (Actemra) treatment every 6 weeks in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

They found that tocilizumab every 6 weeks maintains low disease activity for most patients. 

Some background

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic (long-term) illness. The aim of RA treatment is to reduce inflammation and pain to the lowest level. This is called low disease activity (LDA).

Tocilizumab (TCZ) is a drug to treat RA. It blocks an inflammatory chemical called interleukin-6 (IL-6). TCZ is administered via intravenous injection. It is usually administered every 4 weeks. There are side effects associated with TCZ treatment. These include hyperlipidemia (high-fat levels in the blood). Some studies suggest that TCZ could be administered at longer intervals in patients with LDA. This might reduce side effects. 

Methods & findings

This study included 125 patients with RA. All patients had LDA. Patients that previously responded well to TCZ every 4 weeks (8 milligrams/kilogram) received TCZ every 6 weeks. After 2 years patients were evaluated again. Patients that responded well to the new regime continued to receive TCZ every 6 weeks. Patients that did not respond well began treatment every 4 weeks again. Disease activity and side effects were evaluated.

65% of patients maintained LDA over 2 years of TCZ every 6 weeks. The number of side effects was significantly lower in patients receiving TCZ every 6 weeks (40.3%) compared to TCZ every 4 weeks (155%). Side effects included fatigue, sickness, and dizziness. IL-6 was reduced in patients taking TCZ every 6 weeks. Triglycerides and cholesterol (fat cells in the blood) were also reduced in these patients.  

The bottom line

This study concluded that TCZ every 6 weeks maintains low disease activity for most patients, with fewer side effects.

The fine print

This study included a small number of patients. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.

What’s next?

If you have any questions regarding RA treatment, please consult with your physician.

Published By :

Rheumatology International

Date :

Sep 11, 2018

Original Title :
Efficacy and safety of extending intravenous tocilizumab intervals from 4 to 6 weeks in rheumatoid arthritis patients with good response to 4-week intervals.
click here to get personalized updates