Saturday, June 24, 2017

Risk of Opportunistic Infections in a Study on Abatacept at the 2017 EULAR Annual Meeting in Madrid

There has been a study on opportunistic infections in patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving abatacept or placebo.

T. Simon and colleagues presented this study [1]: “RISK OF OPPORTUNISTIC INFECTIONS IN PATIENTS WITH RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS INITIATING ABATACEPT: ANALYSIS OF ALL AVAILABLE CLINICAL TRIAL DATA.” The authors looked at a total of 7044 patients with RA with approximately 21,330 patient-years of abatacept exposure. Conclusions: “Abatacept-treated pts had a lower incidence rate of OI compared with placebo. The OI and herpes infection incidence rates in the cumulative data are similar or lower to those reported in the literature.”

Hooray! Now we know how harmless abatacept is. This isn’t arguing the data or the statistical analysis. But it can’t be the whole truth. The data presented leaves open the why. Why should patients receiving placebo have a higher rate of opportunistic infections? Maybe placebo patients received just a little more prednisolone. I don’t know. But what I know is reading studies on abatacept very cautiously in the future.

Links and References:
[1] DOI: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2017-eular.2306


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