Rheumatology International

, Volume 30, Issue 12, pp 1611–1620 | Cite as

Infliximab treatment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthropathies in one rheumatological center: two years’ drug survival

  • Tiina Levälampi
  • Markku Korpela
  • Katriina Vuolteenaho
  • Eeva MoilanenEmail author
Original Article


The aim of the present study was to determine the drug survival during 2 years’ follow-up in patients (n = 104) with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or spondyloarthropathy (SpA) who were treated with infliximab as their first biological anti-rheumatic drug in a single rheumatological center. According to the national guidelines, infliximab was added to the treatment with combinations of traditional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD). Patients’ records were analyzed at baseline and after 2 years of follow-up. The response to treatment was determined inadequate if the response was lower than ACR50 (American College of Rheumatology 50) in RA or the reduction of Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) was lower than 50% or 2 cm in SpA. Drug survival in infliximab-treated patients after 2 years was 40%, and among those who continued with the therapy the prednisolone dose has been reduced by 52%. Discontinuation rate was 60% during 2 years of follow-up, where 7% achieved remission and 22% of the patients were regarded as poor responders. As much as 24% of the patients discontinued due to an adverse event, mainly infections and hypersensitivity reactions. Two drug-related leukopenias were diagnosed. In the present study, infliximab therapy was initiated in RA or SpA patients who had active disease despite ongoing treatment with combinations of DMARDs. The drug survival with infliximab was 40% after 2 years of follow-up. During the 2-year follow-up, 60% discontinued infliximab treatment, mainly due to unsatisfactory or waning efficacy or a severe adverse event.


Infliximab Rheumatoid arthritis Spondyloarthropathies Adverse events 



We thank Mrs. Heli Määttä and Mrs. Heli Pikkuharju for their excellent secretarial help. The study was supported by the Clinical Drug Research Graduate School, Finland and the Competitive Research Funding of the Pirkanmaa Hospital District.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiina Levälampi
    • 1
  • Markku Korpela
    • 2
  • Katriina Vuolteenaho
    • 1
  • Eeva Moilanen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The Immunopharmacology Research Group, Medical School, University of Tampere and Research UnitTampere University HospitalTampereFinland
  2. 2.Deparment of Internal Medicine, Center for Rheumatic DiseasesTampere University HospitalTampereFinland

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