Safety and effectiveness of tocilizumab in treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis - A three-year study in Taiwan.


Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan; Faculty of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : To evaluate the long-term safety and effectiveness of tocilizumab (TCZ) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in a real-world clinical setting in Taiwan.
METHODS : All refractory RA patients who initiated intravenous TCZ between August 2012 and March 2015 were enrolled. Data on patient characteristics, drug safety and effectiveness were collected.
RESULTS : A total of 114 RA patients were recruited. Despite the majority of them (93%) had previous biologic failure, 43.75% of the patients were able to reach ACR50 after one year. Serious adverse events commonly found were bacterial pneumonia (4.24/100 patient-years) followed by cellulitis (2.12/100 patient-years). Twenty-three patients had old or latent TB infections, 11 patients had chronic hepatitis B. During the 3 years follow-up, none of them had reactivation of TB, or hepatitis B with concomitant use of isoniazid prophylaxis or pre-emptive antiviral treatment.
CONCLUSIONS : In this 3-year real-world study on RA patients of Taiwan, we found a good long-term effectiveness and similar safety profiles for the TCZ treatment. With prophylactic strategy for latent TB and pre-emptive antiviral treatment for HBV carriers, the risk of reactivation of latent TB and HBV may be reassured.


Hepatitis B,Rheumatoid arthritis,Safety and effectiveness,Tocilizumab,Tuberculosis,

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