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Decreased flares of rheumatoid arthritis during the first year of etanercept treatment: further evidence of clinical effectiveness in the “real world”
  1. Y Yazici,
  2. D Erkan,
  3. I Kulman,
  4. K Belostocki,
  5. M J Harrison
  1. Division of Rheumatology, The Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Y Yazici, 515 East 72nd Street, Apartment 18E, New York, NY 10021, USA;


Objective: To determine the incidence of disease flare during the first year of etanercept treatment for 88 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and compare it with the incidence of flare in those same patients in the year before etanercept use.

Methods: The outpatient clinic charts of all patients with RA who were prescribed etanercept in or before September 1999, who also had at least one year's follow up in the same outpatient clinic, were surveyed. The primary outcome measure was the number of disease flares in one year before and after etanercept use. The secondary outcome measures included the number of patients who did and did not flare, how flares were treated, and the drug alterations that were necessary during the same two time intervals.

Results: The total number of flares for all patients in the year before etanercept treatment was 214 (mean (SD) 2.43 (1.75)). The number of flares in the first year of etanercept treatment decreased to 83 (mean 0.94 (1.07)) (p<0.0001). The total number of patients who had at least one flare in the year before etanercept use was 80; eight had no flares. In their first year of etanercept treatment, 50 patients had at least one flare; 38 had no flares (p<0.0001). Twenty one patients (24%) stopped using etanercept before completing one year's treatment.

Conclusion: This study of patients with RA in the “real world” shows that etanercept is effective in reducing the number of RA flares.

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • flare
  • treatment
  • etanercept
  • ACR, American College of Rheumatology
  • DMARD, disease modifying antirheumatic drug
  • RA, rheumatoid arthritis

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