Discontinuation of biologic therapy due to lack/loss of response and adverse events is similar between TNFi and non-TNFi class: Results from a real-world rheumatoid arthritis cohort Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: Time to discontinuation of biologic therapy may be related to mechanism of action. We aimed to compare discontinuation of tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi) versus non-TNFi in an observational rheumatoid arthritis cohort. METHODS: Patients enrolled in the Ontario Best Practices Research Initiative (OBRI) starting biologic agents on or after 1st January 2010 were included. Time to discontinuation due to (1) any reason, (2) any of lack/loss of response, adverse events (AEs), physician, or patient decision, (3) lack/loss of response, and (4) AEs were assessed using Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox proportional hazards regression analysis. RESULTS: A total of 932 patients were included of whom 174 (18.7%) received non-TNFi and 758 (81.3%) received TNFi. Over a median follow-up of 1.7 years, discontinuation was reported for 416 (44.6%) due to any reason, 367 (39.4%) due to any of lack/loss of response, AEs, physician, or patient decision, 192 (20.6%) due to lack/loss of response, and 102 (10.9%) due to AEs. After adjusting for propensity score, there was no significant difference in discontinuation between the two classes due to any reason [HR 1.14 (0.90-1.46), p = 0.28], lack/loss of response [HR: 1.01 (0.70-1.47), p = 0.95], and AEs [HR: 1.06 (0.64-1.73), p = 0.83]. Similar results were found in biologic naïve patients. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis demonstrates that discontinuation of therapy is similar in patients started on TNFi and non-TNFi therapies. There was also no significant difference in stopping due to lack/loss of response or AEs, suggesting that these reasons should not drive the selection of one treatment over another.


  • Movahedi, Mohammad
  • Hepworth, Elliot
  • Mirza, Reza
  • Cesta, Angela
  • Larche, Margaret
  • Bombardier, Claire

publication date

  • October 2020