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Long term efficacy and safety of adalimumab plus methotrexate in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: ARMADA 4 year extended study


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of adalimumab plus methotrexate (MTX) given for up to 4 years in patients with active, longstanding rheumatoid arthritis.

Methods: Patients responding inadequately to MTX were entered into a 24 week, controlled study (ARMADA) with adalimumab plus MTX or placebo plus MTX, and some were enrolled in a subsequent open label extension. The efficacy and safety of treatment were evaluated. Additional analyses were made for those patients whose corticosteroid and/or MTX dosages were adjusted during the extension.

Results: Of 271 patients in the original ARMADA trial, 262 received at least one dose of adalimumab and were evaluated. At the time of analysis, 162/262 (62%) patients had remained in the study and received treatment for a mean of 3.4 years. Withdrawals were for lack of efficacy (8%), adverse events (12%), and other reasons (18%). In 147 patients who completed 4 years’ treatment, efficacy achieved at 6 months was maintained. At 4 years, 78%, 57%, and 31% had achieved ACR20/50/70; 43% achieved clinical remission (DAS28 <2.6); and 22% had no physical function abnormalities (HAQ = 0). Results were similar for 196 patients who received treatment for 2–4 years. Efficacy was maintained in many patients when dosages were decreased (corticosteroids (51/81 (63%) patients), MTX (92/217 (42%)), or both (25/217 (12%))). Serious adverse events were comparable during open label treatment and the controlled phase. Serious infections occurring during open label treatment and the blinded period were similar (2.03 v 2.30 events per 100 patient-years, respectively).

Conclusions: Adalimumab plus MTX sustained clinical response and remission in patients with RA during 4 years. The safety profile during the first 6 months was similar to that after 4 years’ follow up. Reduction of corticosteroid and/or MTX dosages did not adversely affect long term efficacy.

  • ACR, American College of Rheumatology
  • AEs, adverse events
  • CI, confidence interval
  • CRP, C reactive protein
  • DAS28, 28 joint count Disease Activity Score
  • DMARDs, disease modifying antirheumatic drugs
  • HAQ, Health Assessment Questionnaire
  • LOE, lack of efficacy
  • MTX, methotrexate
  • PPD, purified protein derivative
  • RA, rheumatoid arthritis
  • SIR, standardised incidence ratio
  • SJC, swollen joint count
  • TJC, tender joint count
  • TNF, tumour necrosis factor
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • adalimumab
  • treatment
  • tumour necrosis factor antagonists
  • open label extension studies

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