[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ABOUT THIS SUBJECTInfliximab is an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease (both adult and paediatric), ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis and national and international guidelines have been developed for each indication.WHAT THIS STUDY ADDSThis study is the first study which compared current international, national and local guidelines from the medical specialties involved in the treatment with infliximab on the following topics: indication, dosage, synergy and monitoring of vital signs.AIMS Infliximab, an anti-TNF biologic agent, is currently indicated and reimbursed for rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease (both adult and paediatric), ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis. Development of national and international guidelines for rheumatology, gastroenterology and dermatology, was mostly based on clinical studies and expert opinion. The aim of this study was to compare available guidelines and local protocols for rheumatology, dermatology and gastroenterology, regarding dosage of infliximab, synergy of infliximab with concomitant medication and monitoring of vital signs during infliximab administration, for achieving optimal care.METHODS Current international, national and local guidelines on the use of infliximab were reviewed and compared, differences and shortcomings were identified, and optimal treatment schedules discussed during a meeting (July 2008) of clinical experts and researchers from three departments of a Dutch university hospital.RESULTS Recommended dosages of infliximab are not equal for different indications. Loss of response to infliximab is a common problem encountered within the three medical specialties, but indications for adjustments in treatment schedules are lacking in all of the guidelines. Monitoring of vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature) during infusion with infliximab is common practice and recommended by some guidelines. Routine measurement of vital signs is not of any value in predicting or recognizing acute infusion reactions, in our experience, and this is confirmed by literature on inflammatory bowel disease.CONCLUSION Different indications encompass different dosing schedules. National and internal guidelines do not provide advice regarding loss of response. Routine measurement of vital signs during infusion is not valuable in detecting acute infusion reactions and should only be performed in case of an acute infusion reaction. These topics need to be studied in future studies and covered in future guidelines.
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 07/2010; 71(1):7 - 19. · 3.58 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine whether DAS28 measurements by a specialized nurse, before the rheumatologist visit, in combination with the advice to rheumatologists to reach a DAS28 < or = 3.2, had beneficial effects on disease activity and medication prescription in patients with RA and to explore possible predictors for variation in medication changes and reasons for non-adherence to the advice to reach a DAS28 < or = 3.2.
In this pilot study, rheumatologists were randomized to 'usual care' (n = 3) or DAS28 measurement by a nurse prior the rheumatologist visit (n = 4). In the usual care group, the DAS28 was measured but not provided to rheumatologists. Mixed model analyses were used for analysing between-group differences and for the prediction model. Rheumatologists in the intervention group were asked to provide reasons in cases of non-adherence to the advice.
After 18 months, DAS28 was reduced by - 0.69 and - 0.66 (P = 0.70) in, respectively, the intervention (144 patients) and the usual care (104 patients) groups. In the intervention group, medication was changed by rheumatologists in 35% of the visits with a DAS28 > 3.2; in the usual care group this was 33% (P = 0.99). Baseline DAS28 (OR 1.6; P< or =0.0001) and HAQ (OR 1.3; P = 0.03) were positively related to a medication change. The most frequently mentioned reason not to change medication was patient refusal (26%).
DAS28 measurement by a nurse was as effective as usual care; however, this intervention without protocolized treatment adjustments is not sufficient to lead to a considerable reduction in disease activity compared with trials with protocolized treatment adjustments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stressful events are thought to contribute to the aetiology, maintenance and exacerbation of rheumatic diseases. Given the growing interest in acute stress responses and disease, this review investigates the impact of real-life experimental psychosocial, cognitive, exercise and sensory stressors on autonomic, neuroendocrine and immune function in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases.
Databases Medline, PsychINFO, Embase, Cinahl and Pubmed were screened for studies (1985 to 2009) investigating physiological stress responses in inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Eighteen articles met the inclusion criteria.
Results suggest that immune function may be altered in response to a stressor; such alterations could contribute to the maintenance or exacerbation of inflammatory rheumatic diseases during stressful events in daily life.
This review emphasizes the need for more experimental research in rheumatic populations with controlled stress paradigms that include a follow-up with multiple evaluation points, simultaneous assessment of different physiological stress systems, and studying factors contributing to specific physiological responses, such as stress appraisal.
Arthritis research & therapy 01/2010; 12(3):R89. · 4.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Detailed information is lacking on effectiveness of methotrexate (MTX) in sclerotic skin diseases, side-effects, and duration of remission after discontinuation.
To determine effectiveness, side-effects and period of remission gained by use of MTX in sclerotic skin diseases.
All patients with a sclerotic skin disease who were treated with MTX (group A) or MTX with corticosteroids (CS) (group B) between 1995 and 2007 were evaluated. Detailed information was collected on dosage and duration of MTX treatment, concomitant immunosuppressive medication and CS treatment, effectiveness, side-effects, duration of the remission period, and time until restart.
Fifty-eight patients (A, n = 47; B, n = 11) were evaluated. Clinical assessment revealed that 38 patients (81%) treated with MTX and 11 patients (100%) treated with MTX + CS showed improvement of sclerotic skin. After one treatment course 51% of the patients treated with MTX and 73% treated with MTX + CS reached remission status with a median follow-up time of 55 and 58 months. Patients showing relapse still responded to a second and even to a third course of MTX. Patients who showed a relapse had received a lower cumulative dose, due to a shorter period of treatment with MTX in the first course. Serious side-effects were seen in six patients (10%).
MTX was an effective treatment for various sclerotic skin diseases with a long period of remission and relatively low toxicity. Patients showing relapse still responded to a second and third course of MTX.
British Journal of Dermatology 02/2009; 160(5):1075-82. · 3.76 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The guanine-thymidine (GT)n repeat in the HMOX1 promoter determines the level of induction of the heme-degrading enzyme heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1), which protects against inflammatory and oxidative stress. In individuals with short (GT)n repeats (where n < 25; SS genotype), higher levels of HO-1 activity are induced more rapidly than in those with long (GT)n repeats (where n > or = 25; LL genotype). Recently, it was demonstrated that HO-1 activity protects against the onset of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of this study was to determine whether the (GT)n-repeat length within the HMOX1 promoter region is associated with RA disease severity and radiographic joint damage.
A cohort of 325 well-characterized RA patients and 273 controls was investigated by DNA fragment-length analysis for the association of (GT)n repeats in the HMOX1 promoter region with RA disease susceptibility and severity.
Although no significant differences in genotype or allele frequency were found between controls and RA patients, the odds ratios corresponded well to those in the previously described cohort. Among patients, those carrying the SS genotype had a more favorable radiographic outcome over 9 years than those carrying the LL genotype. This was unexpected since no differences in disease activity were found between the genotypes or alleles.
Patients with the SS genotype have a better long-term radiographic outcome despite poor prognostic markers at baseline and despite disease activity at followup similar to that of patients with the LL genotype. This suggests that the HMOX1/HO-1 system is involved in the uncoupling of disease activity and joint damage and may provide a novel target for the treatment of RA.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the effect of a functional polymorphism (676T>G, M196R) in the tumour necrosis factor receptor super family 1b (TNFSF1b) gene on disease activity, radiological joint damage and response to infliximab and adalimumab treatment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Two cohorts of patients with RA were genotyped for the 676T>G polymorphism (rs1061622) in exon 6 of the TNFSF1b gene by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. One cohort (n = 234) included patients from the Dutch Rheumatoid Arthritis Monitoring register with detailed information on their response to anti-TNF therapy (infliximab and adalimumab), the other cohort comprised patients from a long-term observational early inception cohort at our centre (n = 248).
The 676T>G polymorphism was not associated with anti-TNF response after 3 or 6 months of treatment. Linear regression analysis showed no significant difference in the progression of radiological joint damage during the first 3 and 6 years of disease between the three genotype groups (TT, TG and GG). Additionally, no difference in mean disease activity between genotypes was seen after 3 and 6 years of disease.
Despite its demonstrated functionality, the 676T>G polymorphism in the TNFSF1b gene does not have a major role in either the response to anti-TNF therapy or in the disease severity or radiological progression in RA.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 09/2008; 67(8):1174-7. · 8.11 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Although nodulosis is a common extraarticular manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis, accelerated pulmonary nodulosis is a rare event. The etiology of rheumatoid nodules is still unknown. Nodulosis is not necessarily associated with active joint inflammation, suggesting different pathogenic mechanisms for nodule formation and synovial tissue inflammation. We describe a patient with extensive pulmonary nodulosis, probably related to etanercept treatment. Our case emphasizes the need for careful monitoring for adverse events during treatment with biologicals, especially since the differential diagnosis often includes a broad spectrum of diseases.
The Journal of Rheumatology 08/2007; 34(7):1590-2. · 3.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify risk factors for surgical site infection (SSI) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with special attention for anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) treatment.
All patients with RA who had undergone elective orthopedic surgery since introduction of anti-TNF were included in a retrospective parallel-cohort study with a one-year followup. Primary endpoint was a SSI according to the 1992 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria and/or antibiotic use. Cohort 1 did not use anti-TNF, cohort 2 used anti-TNF but had either stopped (2A) or continued anti-TNF preoperatively (2B), the cutoff point being set at 4 times the half-life time of the drug. Infection rates were compared between cohorts, and logistic regression analysis was performed to examine risk factors.
In total, 1219 (768 patients) procedures were included, and crude infection risks were 4.0% (41/1023), 5.8% (6/104), and 8.7% (8/92) in cohorts 1, 2A, and 2B, respectively. Elbow surgery (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.6-10.1), foot/ankle surgery (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.6-6.5), and prior skin or wound infection (OR 13.8, 95% CI 5.2-36.7) were associated with increased risk of SSI, whereas duration of surgery (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.23-0.78) and sulfasalazine use (OR 0.21, 95% CI 0.05-0.89) were associated with decreased risk. Perioperative use of anti-TNF was not significantly associated with an increase in SSI rates (OR 1.5, 95% CI 0.43-5.2).
The most important risk factor for SSI is history of SSI or skin infection. Although our study was not powered to detect small differences in infection rates, perioperative continuation of anti-TNF does not seem to be an important risk factor for SSI.
The Journal of Rheumatology 05/2007; 34(4):689-95. · 3.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To observe the course of the disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients treated with the standard infliximab dosing regimen and to adjust treatment guided by the pattern of disease activity.
All RA patients starting infliximab treatment were included and observed for at least 37 weeks. At infusion 4 (week 14), European League Against Rheumatism response was assessed. In moderate responders the dose was unchanged and the disease activity was carefully observed. In case of stable disease activity, the dose was increased at infusion 5 (week 22). In case of a temporary response the interval was reduced. Paired t-testing was applied to the disease activity score with 28-joint counts (DAS28) at week 22 and study endpoint.
A total of 76 patients were included. Response after 14 weeks: good 22 (29%) patients, moderate 26 (34%) patients, and non-response in 21 patients. Seven patients (9%) dropped out before week 14 due to adverse events (5) or patients' initiative (2). In patients with moderate response, the following disease course between infusion 4 and 5 was observed: improvement to good response 6, temporary response 6, stable disease activity 6, drop out 8. In moderate responders, interval reduction and dose increase resulted in a decrease in mean DAS28 from 5.1 to 3.6 [P = 0.005, mean interval 5.6 weeks, mean infliximab dose 4.8 mg/kg/8 week (endpoint)] and from 4.1 to 3.6 [P = 0.04, mean infliximab dose 7.3 mg/kg/8 week (endpoint)], respectively.
Three different patterns of disease activity were observed in moderate responders after 14 weeks of infliximab treatment, i.e. further improvement, no change in disease activity or a temporary response. Both interval reduction and dose increase significantly reduced disease activity, however, with different mean infliximab dosages. In good responders the response was often sustained over follow-up, whereas non-responders showed modest or no improvement despite dose adjustments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the influence of previous and concomitant leflunomide on the efficacy and safety of infliximab therapy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to compare it to infliximab in combination with other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.
RA patients starting infliximab therapy were prospectively followed from January 2000. Every 3 months data were collected regarding disease activity (DAS28), adverse events and treatment changes. In the primary analyses all patients were classified into a leflunomide group (LEF group) if they had used leflunomide during infliximab therapy or within 6 months prior to starting infliximab therapy, the latter because of the long half-life of leflunomide. All other patients were considered as controls (non-LEF group). Secondary drug survival analyses were performed with the LEF group consisting only of patients on active leflunomide at the start of infliximab (active LEF group).
A total of 162 RA patients started infliximab therapy (57 in the LEF group, 105 in the non-LEF group). No statistically significant differences in baseline characteristics were observed between the groups. Maximum follow-up time was 46 months for both groups. No differences in drug survival, disease activity or adverse events were observed between the groups. In both groups an increase in patients positive for antinuclear antibodies (ANA) was seen. ANA positivity at start did not predict DAS28 or the occurrence of adverse events. Secondary drug survival analyses showed no differences between the active LEF group and the non-LEF group.
The results indicate that the administration of infliximab after or simultaneously with leflunomide is safe and efficacious in RA patients.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To develop and validate an extensive radiographic scoring system for ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
The Stoke Ankylosing Spondylitis Spinal Score (SASSS) was modified by adding a score for the cervical spine and defining squaring. This modified SASSS (mSASSS) is the sum of the lumbar and cervical spine score (range 0-72). 370 lateral views of the lumbar and cervical spine were used for development of the mSASSS, standardisation of observers, and for studying reliability. In a 48 week NSAID study of 57 patients, change over time and construct validity were studied.
Interobserver correlations of the lumbar and cervical spine scores were good (r>0.95). The interobserver duplicate error was 0.55 in a range from 0 to 36. The mean change in the cervical and lumbar spine scores between weeks 0 and 48 of all patients was 1.45 (range 0-6.0) and 1.06 (0-5.0), respectively (paired t testing, p<0.001). Change in radiological score was seen in 36/57 (63%) patients (lumbar and cervical spine 11, cervical spine 12, lumbar spine 13 patients).
The mSASSS is useful for assessing extensive radiographic damage in AS. It is reliable, detects changes over 48 weeks, and shows a satisfactory face and construct validity.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 01/2005; 64(1):127-9. · 9.11 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Various dermatological conditions have been reported during tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha-blocking therapy, but until now no prospective studies have been focused on this aspect. The present study was set up to investigate the number and nature of clinically important dermatological conditions during TNF-alpha-blocking therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA patients starting on TNF-alpha-blocking therapy were prospectively followed up. The numbers and natures of dermatological events giving rise to a dermatological consultation were recorded. The patients with a dermatological event were compared with a group of prospectively followed up RA control patients, naive to TNF-alpha-blocking therapy and matched for follow-up period. 289 RA patients started TNF-alpha-blocking therapy. 128 dermatological events were recorded in 72 patients (25%) during 911 patient-years of follow-up. TNF-alpha-blocking therapy was stopped in 19 (26%) of these 72 patients because of the dermatological event. More of the RA patients given TNF-alpha-blocking therapy (25%) than of the anti-TNF-alpha-naive patients (13%) visited a dermatologist during follow-up (P < 0.0005). Events were recorded more often during active treatment (0.16 events per patient-year) than during the period of withdrawal of TNF-alpha-blocking therapy (0.09 events per patient-year, P < 0.0005). The events recorded most frequently were skin infections (n = 33), eczema (n = 20), and drug-related eruptions (n = 15). Other events with a possible relation to TNF-alpha-blocking therapy included vasculitis, psoriasis, drug-induced systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, and a lymphomatoid-papulosis-like eruption. This study is the first large prospective study focusing on dermatological conditions during TNF-alpha-blocking therapy. It shows that dermatological conditions are a significant and clinically important problem in RA patients receiving TNF-alpha-blocking therapy.
Arthritis research & therapy 01/2005; 7(3):R666-76. · 4.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine which cut-off point in the RA disease activity score (DAS28) corresponds to fulfilment of the ARA criteria for clinical remission.
The disease activity of patients included in the Nijmegen RA inception cohort was systematically assessed every 3 months. For all visits, a modification of the ARA preliminary criteria for clinical remission was applied and the DAS28 was calculated. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to determine the cut-off point with maximum sensitivity and specificity in DAS28 corresponding with fulfilment of the modified ARA criteria.
Three hundred and seventy-eight patients contributed 4378 visits. In 6.5% of the visits four of the five items and in 1.5% all five items of the modified ARA criteria were fulfilled. The optimal cut-off point for the DAS28 that corresponds to fulfilment of the modified ARA criteria was determined to be 2.66.
DAS28 <2.6 corresponds to fulfilment of the preliminary ARA criteria for clinical remission in RA.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) blocking agents are an important advance in the clinical treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They were introduced into clinical practice while limited safety information was available. This means that intensive monitoring is needed early in the life cycle of these new drugs. Setting up large cohort studies to monitor efficacy, safety, and tolerability in long term use of these so-called biological agents will provide information about the consequences of using TNF blocking agents in chronic rheumatic disease like RA. Currently, a Dutch multicentre registry on biological agents in RA is being set up. This study aimed at investigating the efficacy and toxicity of TNF blocking agents in patients with RA at one participating academic centre by a drug survival analysis. Since 1997 230 patients with RA at the centre have been treated with TNF blocking agents for the first time (94 with adalimumab, 120 with infliximab, and 16 with etanercept). No differences in drug survival between the three TNF blocking agents were found despite the diversity in selection and patient numbers. Adverse events which occurred, leading to discontinuation, were similar to those from previous reports.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 12/2003; 62 Suppl 2:ii30-3. · 9.11 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) therapy yields high response rates shortly after institution of therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and on theoretical grounds large differences in the effective dose between patients can be expected. Together with the high costs, these differences warrant new approaches to the way patients are dosed.
We used the Disease Activity Score (DAS28), a composite disease activity index, to titrate the dose of anti-TNF-alpha (adalimumab, D2E7; Knoll) in 21 patients with low disease activity in an open extension study lasting 40 weeks. The dose of anti-TNF-alpha was reduced stepwise and dosing intervals were kept stable. Disease activity and flares were assessed using the DAS28. Patients who flared received the previous effective dose.
Dose reduction was accomplished in 15 patients. The total amount of anti-TNF-alpha given to the patients was reduced by 67%. At the end of the study the mean DAS28 had not changed and no patients dropped out because of persistent worsening of the RA.
Dose titration of anti-TNF-alpha treatment using the DAS28 is feasible and leads to overall dose reduction while maintaining clinical efficacy. This approach will save costs and possibly prevent long-term side-effects.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A large number of variables are available for the assessment of disease activity in ankylosing spondylitis (AS). The aim of this study was to evaluate the validity of commonly used variables, to select a core set of valid variables for disease activity and finally to compute an AS disease activity score (AS-DAS). Data from two longitudinal studies were used. Principal component analysis and reliability analysis resulted in 11 factors: cervical mobility, lumbar flexion, subjective complaints, functional index (FI), enthesis index (EI), inflammatory response, IgA, IgM, root joints, swollen joints and spinal mobility. Based on discriminating power, reproducibility and correlation with disease duration, seven single variables were selected. In a subsequent discriminant analysis, an AS-DAS was computed of five variables, i.e. subjective complaints, FI, EI, root joints and C-reactive protein, which should be validated in the future. A core set of process variables solves the problem of multiple testing in clinical trials, and improves comparability.
British journal of rheumatology 10/1996; 35(9):867-73.