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  1. A. Rubbert-Roth1,
  2. J. Enejosa2,
  3. A. Pangan2,
  4. R. Xavier3,
  5. B. Haraoui4,
  6. M. Rischmueller5,
  7. N. Khan2,
  8. Y. Zhang2,
  9. N. Martin2,
  10. M. C. Genovese6
  1. 1Division of Rheumatology, Cantonal Clinic St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland
  2. 2AbbVie Inc., North Chicago, United States of America
  3. 3Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  4. 4Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada
  5. 5The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
  6. 6Division of Immunology & Rheumatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, United States of America


Background: Upadacitinib (UPA) is an oral, reversible, selective JAK 1 inhibitor approved for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The efficacy/safety of UPA has been demonstrated in phase 3 studies, including superiority to adalimumab in patients (pts) with prior inadequate response (IR) to methotrexate.1-4

Objectives: To assess the efficacy/safety of UPA vs abatacept (ABA) in pts with prior IR or intolerance to biologic DMARDs (bDMARDs).

Methods: Pts were randomized to once daily UPA 15 mg or intravenous ABA (at Day 1, Weeks [Wks] 2, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 [< 60 kg: 500 mg; 60-100 kg: 750 mg; >100 kg: 1,000 mg]), with all pts continuing background stable csDMARDs. The study was double-blind for 24 wks. Starting at Wk 12, pts who did not achieve ≥20% improvement from baseline (BL) in both tender and swollen joint counts at two consecutive visits, had background medication(s) adjusted or initiated. The primary endpoint was change from BL in DAS28(CRP) at Wk 12 (non-inferiority). The non-inferiority of UPA vs ABA was tested using the 95% CI of treatment difference against a non-inferiority margin of 0.6. The two key secondary endpoints at Wk 12 were change from BL in DAS28(CRP) and the proportion of pts achieving clinical remission (CR) based on DAS28(CRP), defined as DAS28(CRP) <2.6. Both endpoints were to demonstrate the superiority of UPA vs. ABA. Treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) are reported up to Wk 24 for all pts who received at least one dose of study drug.

Results: Of 612 pts treated; 67% of pts had received 1 prior bDMARD, 22% received 2 prior bDMARDs, and 10% received ≥ 3 prior bDMARDs. 549 (90%) completed 24 wks of treatment. Common reasons for study drug discontinuation were AEs (UPA, 3.6%; ABA, 2.6%) and withdrawal of consent (UPA, 1.7%; ABA, 2.6%).

Non-inferiority and superiority were met for UPA vs ABA at Wk 12 for change from BL in DAS28(CRP) (-2.52 vs -2.00; -0.52 [-0.69, -0.35]; p <0.001 for UPA vs ABA). UPA also demonstrated superiority to ABA in achieving DAS28(CRP) <2.6 (30.0% vs 13.3%; p <0.001 for UPA vs ABA; Figure 1). Improvements in disease activity and remission rates were maintained through Wk 24. The proportions of pts achieving low disease activity (defined as DAS28(CRP) ≤3.2), ACR20, ACR50, and ACR70 responses were greater with UPA compared with ABA at Wk 12 (nominal p <0.05). More stringent outcome measures – CR, ACR50, and ACR70 responses - remained higher with UPA than ABA through Wk 24 (nominal p <0.05). Incidence of serious TEAEs, AEs leading to discontinuation, hepatic disorders, and CPK elevations were numerically higher with UPA versus ABA (Figure 2). Eight cases of herpes zoster were reported (4 in each treatment arm). No malignancies were reported. One case of adjudicated MACE, two adjudicated cases of VTE (1 pt with DVT and 1 pt with PE; both pts had at least one risk factor for VTE), and one treatment-emergent death were reported with UPA.

Conclusion: In RA pts with a prior IR or intolerance to bDMARDs, UPA demonstrated superior improvement in signs and symptoms vs ABA based on change in DAS28(CRP) and in achieving CR at Wk 12. The safety profile of UPA was consistent with the phase 3 RA studies with no new risks identified.

References: [1]Burmester GR, et al. Lancet. 2018;391(10139):2503-12

[2]Fleischmann R, et al. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019;71(11):1788-800

[3]Genovese MC, et al. Lancet. 2018;391(10139):2513-24

[4]Smolen JS, et al. Lancet. 2019;393(10188):2303-11

Disclosure of Interests: Andrea Rubbert-Roth Consultant of: Abbvie, BMS, Chugai, Pfizer, Roche, Janssen, Lilly, Sanofi, Amgen, Novartis, Jeffrey Enejosa Shareholder of: AbbVie Inc., Employee of: AbbVie Inc., Aileen Pangan Shareholder of: AbbVie Inc., Employee of: AbbVie Inc., Ricardo Xavier Consultant of: AbbVie, Pfizer, Novartis, Janssen, Eli Lilly, Roche, Boulos Haraoui Grant/research support from: Abbvie, Amgen, Pfizer, UCB, Grant/research support from: AbbVie, Amgen, BMS, Janssen, Pfizer, Roche, and UCB, Consultant of: Abbvie, Amgen, Lilly, Pfizer, Sandoz, UCB, Consultant of: AbbVie, Amgen, BMS, Celgene, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Merck, Pfizer, Roche, and UCB, Speakers bureau: Pfizer, Speakers bureau: Amgen, BMS, Janssen, Pfizer, and UCB, Maureen Rischmueller Consultant of: Abbvie, Bristol-Meyer-Squibb, Celgene, Glaxo Smith Kline, Hospira, Janssen Cilag, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi, UCB, Nasser Khan Shareholder of: AbbVie Inc., Employee of: AbbVie Inc., Ying Zhang Shareholder of: AbbVie Inc., Employee of: AbbVie Inc., Naomi Martin Shareholder of: AbbVie Inc., Employee of: AbbVie Inc., Mark C. Genovese Grant/research support from: Abbvie, Eli Lilly and Company, EMD Merck Serono, Galapagos, Genentech/Roche, Gilead Sciences, Inc., GSK, Novartis, Pfizer Inc., RPharm, Sanofi Genzyme, Consultant of: Abbvie, Eli Lilly and Company, EMD Merck Serono, Genentech/Roche, Gilead Sciences, Inc., GSK, Novartis, RPharm, Sanofi Genzyme

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