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The introduction of biological therapies in the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drives the need to re-evaluate existing standard therapy regimens. Although tumour necrosis factor (TNF)α inhibitors (TNFi) have been approved to treat RA successfully, little information is available on the potential glucocorticoid (GC)-sparing effect of TNFi.1 2 3 4 For example, there are no firm data on detailed time courses of the GC dose changes in clinical practice. We therefore performed this study to evaluate the impact of TNFi on GC use in RA.
We performed a database search of patient files in our department between January 1999 and January 2007. Inclusion criteria were RA (American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria), first time starting on TNFi (etanercept, 25 mg twice a week or infliximab, 3 mg/kg bodyweight or adalimumab, 40 mg every 2 weeks), on TNFi for at least 3 months and on concomitant GC at TNFi initiation, respectively. The 110 patients thus …