, Volume 64, Issue 22, pp 2493–2501

Durability and Rapidity of Response to Anakinra in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Leading Article

DOI: 10.2165/00003495-200464220-00001

Cite this article as:
Schiff, M.H. Drugs (2004) 64: 2493. doi:10.2165/00003495-200464220-00001


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and progressive inflammatory disease that ultimately leads to disability and functional decline. Because patients usually develop RA in mid-life, they may experience its consequences for 20–30 years or longer. Proinflammatory cytokines, notably interleukin (IL)-1 and tumour necrosis factor-α, are believed to play significant pathophysiological roles. Clinical trials of biologicals that block these cytokines confirm their importance.

Anakinra, a recombinant human IL-1 receptor antagonist, improves clinical signs and symptoms, and slows radiographic progression in patients with active RA. In clinical trials, patients receiving anakinra doses >1 mg/kg, whether administered alone or in combination with methotrexate, were two to three times more likely than patients receiving placebo to achieve a sustained ACR20 (American College of Rheumatology criteria) response. Notably, bone erosion slows to a greater extent and shows accelerated benefit when anakinra treatment is continued for periods beyond 24 weeks. Anakinra has a rapid onset of action, with substantial improvements in biochemical indices (C-reactive protein) seen within 1 week and clinical responses (ACR20 or joint counts) seen within 4 weeks of starting treatment.

Anakinra is generally well tolerated, with injection site reactions being the most common adverse event. These reactions are generally mild and typically resolve within 2–3 weeks of treatment. The anakinra product labelling does include a warning regarding an increased risk of infections of 2% in anakinra-treated patients versus <1% in patients receiving placebo.

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Denver Arthritis Clinic Research UnitDenverUSA

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