E Tsakonas

McGill University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

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Publications (2)5.65 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: To assess the longterm effect of delaying therapy with second-line agents in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA). One hundred nineteen patients who participated in a 9 month placebo controlled randomized trial of hydroxychloroquine sulfate (HCQ) were followed prospectively for an additional 3 years. Those randomized to HCQ are referred to as the early treatment group and those randomized to placebo as the delayed treatment group. Participants were assessed annually for pain [Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales (AIMS) and Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ)], physical disability (AIMS and HAQ), and the RA global well being scale (AIMS). Conversion of results into standard deviation (SD) units permitted defining a substantial difference as per Felson as > 0.30 SD units and a clinically indistinguishable difference as < or = 0.06 SD units. One hundred fifteen patients (97%) participated and complete data were available on 104 (87%). Compared to the early treatment group, the delayed group remained worse for both the pain and the physical disability outcomes over the additional 3 year followup. The difference in the RA global well being score became clinically indistinguishable for the early and delayed groups only after the 2 year post-trial assessment. The between-group differences were not explained by post-trial therapy with corticosteroids, other second-line agents, or nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs and analgesic preparations. These findings show that a delay in instituting therapy with second-line agents, even a 9 month delay in instituting a moderately powerful second-line agent such as HCQ, has significant effects on longterm patient outcome, and provides strong evidence in support of early therapy in RA.
    The Journal of Rheumatology 03/2000; 27(3):623-9. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ability of antimalarials to moderate severe disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is plausible but undemonstrated. We evaluated the long-term effectiveness of maintaining treatment with hydroxychloroquine sulphate (HCQ) to prevent major flares in quiescent SLE. Forty-seven patients with quiescent SLE who had been randomized to take HCQ (n = 25) or placebo (n = 22) as part of a 24-week withdrawal trial were evaluated for an additional 3 years. The primary outcome was time to a major flare of SLE which resulted in either the institution of or an increase in the current dosage of prednisone of 10 mg/day or more, or institution of therapy with immunosuppressive agents. Secondary outcomes included the specific subtype of these major flares (glomerulonephritis, vasculitis or other) and hospitalization for an exacerbation of SLE. An intent-to-treat analysis was conducted. Over the 42 months of study, 11 of 22 (50%) patients randomized initially to placebo, and seven of 25 (28%) patients randomized to continue treatment experienced a major flare. The relative risk of major flare for those randomized to continue HCQ compared with controls was 0.43 (95% CI: 0.17, 1.12). The relative risks for subtypes of flares were 0.26 (95% CI: 0.03, 2.54) for nephritis, 0.51 (95% CI: 0.09, 3.08) for vasculitis and 0.65 (95% CI: 0.17, 2.41) for flares characterized by other symptoms. The relative risk of hospitalization for major flare for patients randomized to continue hydroxychloroquine was 0.58 (95% CI: 0.13, 2.60). While the results are not statistically significant, they are compatible with the clinical belief that HCQ has a long-term protective effect against major disease flares in SLE and suggest that on average, HCQ use reduces major flares by 57% (95% CI: 83% reduction to 12% increase).
    Lupus 02/1998; 7(2):80-5. · 2.48 Impact Factor