Longer durations of antitumour necrosis factor treatment are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Research paper by Michael M Nurmohamed, Yanjun Y Bao, James J Signorovitch, Alex A Trahey, Parvez P Mulani, Daniel E DE Furst

Indexed on: 05 Nov '15Published on: 05 Nov '15Published in: RMD open


To assess the effects of treatment with antitumour necrosis factor (TNF) agents, methotrexate, or other non-biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) on cardiovascular event risks among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).We conducted a retrospective study using data from the MarketScan claims database. Patients with RA with ≥1 prescription for an index drug were included. Each patient's use of an index drug was calculated cumulatively as a time-varying exposure. The incidence of cardiovascular events among patients with RA was determined. Associations between drug exposures and occurrence of cardiovascular events were assessed with Cox proportional hazards models.Of 113 677 patients identified, 35.8%, 41.1% and 23.1% received anti-TNF agents, methotrexate and other DMARDs, respectively. Patients were treated for an average of 7.6 months; 2138 patients (1.9%) had a cardiovascular event following their index prescription. Each additional 6 months of anti-TNF therapy use versus non-use reduced the risk (HR; 95% CI) for any cardiovascular event by 12% (0.88; 0.81 to 0.95, p=0.002). Anti-TNF therapy was associated with a 13% and 12% reduction in cardiovascular events in patients aged ≥50 years (0.87; 0.80 to 0.95, p=0.002) and in those without prior methotrexate use (0.88; 0.78 to 0.99, p=0.04), respectively. Cumulative use of 1, 2 or 3 years of anti-TNF therapy versus non-use is expected to reduce cardiovascular event risks by 21%, 38% and 51%, respectively.Anti-TNF therapy was associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular events among patients with RA, older patients with RA and patients without prior exposure to methotrexate.