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עמוד בית
Wed, 07.06.23

Search results

February 2023
Amir Dagan MD, Ester Rabin MD

A 65-year-old male with a medical history of diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney failure, and ulcerative colitis arrived at our facility with knee monoarthritis. The knee was tapped with 40 cc pus-like discharge [Figure 1A]. He was referred for a knee lavage with a working diagnosis of septic arthritis. The patient was afebrile, denied trauma, without neutrophilia on blood count.

November 2021
Ilaria Duca MD, Bruno Lucchino MD, Francesca Romana Spinelli MD PhD, Alessio Altobelli MD, Carmelo Pirone MD, Chiara Gioia MD, Guido Valesini MD, Fabrizio Conti MD PhD, and Manuela Di Franco MD

Background: In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), females usually have a worse prognosis. To date, the influence of physician gender in the evaluation of RA activity is still largely unknown.

Objectives: To investigate the discrepancy in RA disease activity assessment between male and female physicians and to compare patient and evaluator perception of disease activity and global health (GH) status.

Methods: One female and one male rheumatologist evaluated 154 RA patients recording tender and swollen joint count, GH, evaluator global assessment (EGA), and patient global assessment (PGA) disease activity. A third rheumatologist calculated DAS28, CDAI, and SDAI. Difference was evaluated by Wilcoxon test. Physician–patient agreement was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficient.

Results: GH, PGA, and DAS28 were higher when recorded by the female examiner. Male EGA was higher than female. Among male patients, PGA was higher when collected by the female examiner. The probability of being judged as having an active disease did not rely on physician gender. The agreement with the physician’s evaluation of disease activity was high. PGA values were higher than EGA in both examiners. The physician–patient agreement was moderate for the male examiner and good for the female. The female physician had a higher agreement with both genders.

Conclusions: Subjective measure of disease activity differs between female and male rheumatologists, contributing to a different evaluation of disease activity. Patients have a higher perception of disease activity compared to physicians. The stronger agreement between female physicians and patients may be related to a more emphatic setting established by the female physician

October 2021
Rotem Shpatz MD, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD

Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory and destructive joint disease with the presence of autoantibodies, rheumatoid factor (RF), and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA). The presence of RF or ACPA predicts RA severity. Data on the influence of ACPA titer on RA course are limited.

Objectives: To determine the correlation between ACPA titers at the time of RA diagnosis to RA features and severity during 3 years of follow-up.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of RA patients treated at our institution during the years 2006–2015 with known ACPA titers at RA diagnosis who completed at least 3 years of follow-up. Patients (N=133) were divided according to ACPA titer: seronegative (< 15 U/ml, n=55), weakly positive (15–49 U/ml, n=18), moderately positive (50–300 U/ml, n=29), and strongly positive (> 300 U/ml, n=31). Patient data, including disease activity score (DAS28), bone erosion on hand and/or foot X-rays, treatments with corticosteroids and disease-modifying-anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and hospitalizations, were recorded. Chi-square and Mann-Whitney method were used for statistical analysis. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: Male gender, smoking, and RF positivity correlated with ACPA positivity and higher ACPA titers. There was no correlation between ACPA titer and the variables defined as representing RA severity: higher DAS28, bone erosions, hospitalizations, need for corticosteroids, and conventional and biological DMARDs.

Conclusions: Titer of ACPA was not identified as a predictive factor for RA severity

July 2021
Ramona Lucchetti MD, Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Enrica Cipriano MD, Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Francesca Romana Spinelli MD PhD, Cristiano Alessandri MD, and Fabrizio Conti MD

Background: Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory rheumatic disease characterized by different phenotypes in terms of joint involvement. The so-called oligoarticular pattern involves fewer than five active joints at a different time points. The evaluation of disease activity in this subset of patients is an unmet need due to the lack of specific indices able to capture modifications over time.

Objectives: To evaluate the ability of musculoskeletal ultrasound to monitor the response to apremilast treatment in oligoarticular PsA patients.

Methods: We evaluated 24 oligoarticular patients (19 women, 5 men; median age 56 years, interquartile range (IQR) 19; median disease duration 5 years, IQR 5.75). All patients were assessed at baseline (T0), and after 6 (T1), 12 (T2), and 24 (T3) weeks. Clinical assessment included evaluation of 66 swollen joints and patient global health assessment. All the patients underwent ultrasound assessment of the clinically involved joints. Synovial effusion/hypertrophy and power Doppler were scored with a semi-quantitative scale (0–3). The total inflammatory score was the sum of the scores.

Results: We found a reduction in the ultrasound inflammatory score at all time points, with a significant improvement at 6 and 12 weeks of treatment compared with baseline: T0 median 8.5 (IQR 5.0); T1 3.5 (3.0); T2 2.0 (3.5); P  = 0.01. We observed a significant reduction of patient global health assessment after 24 weeks (T0 median 50 (32.5); T3 40 (57.5); P = 0.01).

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal ultrasound could be useful in the assessment of treatment response in PsA patients with oligoarticular subset

June 2021
Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Elisabetta Gerratana MD, Sara Bongiovanni MD, Rossella Talotta MD PhD, Gianfranco Miceli MD, Fausto Salaffi MD PhD, and Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini MD

Background: There is a lack of real-life clinical data for biosimilar etanercept, an anti-TNF blocking fusion protein. We describe the comparable efficacy and safety of originator and biosimilar etanercept in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in a real-life clinical setting. Our data confirm that a biosimilar etanercept can be safely used as first-line treatment as well as in patients switched from a previous originator compound.

Objectives: To compare the efficacy and safety of originator and biosimilar etanercept in a cohort of RA patients attending two Italian hospitals.

Methods: The study involved 81 consecutive adult RA patients treated for at least 6 months with originator or biosimilar etanercept and considered their clinical and laboratory data, concomitant medications, and adverse events at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months of treatment.

Results: Group 1 included 51 patients taking originator etanercept; group 2 included 30 taking biosimilar etanercept, including 19 who had been switched from the reference product. Despite a significant baseline difference in clinical disease activity, one-way analysis of variance showed that the two groups were clinically comparable after 6 months of treatment, and the same was true when only those receiving etanercept as first-line biological treatment were considered. Nine patients discontinued the treatment due to inefficacy or adverse events, which were never serious and were only reported in group 1.

Conclusions: The efficacy and safety profiles of originator and biosimilar etanercept are comparable in RA patients in a real-life clinical setting. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings

September 2020
Pnina Langevitz MD, Merav Lidar MD, Itzhak Rosner MD, Joy Feld MD, Moshe Tishler MD, Howard Amital MD, Suhail Aamar MD, Ori Elkayam MD, Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Mahmoud Abu-Shakra MD, Dror Mevorach MD, Oded Kimhi MD, Yair Molad MD, Ana Kuperman MD and Sharon Ehrlich MD

Background: Tocilizumab is an interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist used treat moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both intravenous (IV) and subcutaneous (SC) routes are approved for the treatment of adults with RA.

Objectives: To evaluate SC tocilizumab in a real-life clinical setting.

Methods: Our study was a multi-center, open-label, single-arm study. Participants were adults with a diagnosis of active RA, previously treated with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), with or without biologic agents. Participants received a weekly SC injection of tocilizumab 162 mg as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate or DMARDs for 24 weeks. Efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity were assessed.

Results: Treatment of 100 patients over 24 weeks resulted in improvement in all efficacy parameters assessed: Clinical Disease Activity Index, Disease Activity Score using 28 joint counts and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, American College of Rheumatology response scores, Simplified Disease Activity Index, tender and swollen joint counts, and patient-reported outcomes including fatigue, global assessment of disease activity, pain, and Health Assessment Quality of Life Disease Index. Improvement was achieved as early as the second week of treatment. There were 473 adverse events (AEs)/100 patient-years (PY) and 16.66 serious AEs/100 PY. The most common AEs were neutropenia (12%), leukopenia (11%), and increased hepatic enzymes (11%). Of a total of 42 PY, the rates of serious infections and AEs leading to discontinuation were 4.8, and 11.9 events/100 PY, respectively.

Conclusions: The safety, tolerability, and efficacy profile of tocilizumab SC were comparable to those reported in other studies evaluating the IV and SC routes of administration.


August 2020
Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, Devy Zisman MD and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD
July 2020
Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Enrica Cipriano MD, Francesco Natalucci MD, Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Giulio Olivieri MD, Valeria Orefice MD, Francesca Morello MD, Cristiano Alessandri MD, Francesca R. Spinelli MD PhD and Fabrizio Conti MD

Background: Belimumab was the first biological drug approved for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. Phase II/III randomized controlled trials and real-life studies identified patients with musculoskeletal involvement as best responders.

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of belimumab in SLE-related joint involvement.

Methods: The cohort comprised SLE patients receiving belimumab for musculoskeletal indications. Belimumab was intravenously administrated according to protocols; all the patients were evaluated at baseline (T0) and after 3 (T1), 6 (T2), and 12 (T3) months. We assessed joint activity by disease activity score 28, simple disease activity index (SDAI), clinical disease activity index (CDAI), and swollen tender ratio. Each patient underwent musculoskeletal ultrasound of 34 joints to assess synovial effusion synovial hypertrophy, and power Doppler; by using a semi-quantitative scale (0–3) we obtained the total inflammatory score (0–216).

Results: We evaluated 20 patients (males/females 1/19, median age 45 years [interquartile range (IQR) 12], median disease duration 144 months [IQR 144]). CDAI and SDAI significantly decreased at T1 (P = 0.02 and P = 0.01 respectively) and this improvement was maintained at the following time-points (CDAI: T2 P = 0.008, T3 P = 0.004; SDAI: T2 P = 0.006, T3 P = 0.01). A significant reduction of median ultrasound score was identified at T1 (T0 20.5 [IQR 13.5] vs. T1 7.5 [IQR 4.7], P < 0.001), and maintained at T2 (7.0 [IQR 5], P < 0.0001), and T3 (7.0 [IQR 9.0], P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Belimumab induces a sustained improvement of ultrasound-detected inflammatory status at the articular level.

Attila Kovács, Anita Cserenyecz, Beáta Baksay, Éva Kemény and Zoltán Szekanecz
May 2020
Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, Yonit Tavor MD, Doron Markovits MD PhD, Kohava Toledano MD, Alexander Rozin MD, Menahem A. Nahir MD PhD and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD

Background: Behçet's disease is a multi-systemic chronic relapsing inflammatory disease, classified among the vasculitides. The heterogeneity of clinical manifestations challenges the disease management.

Objectives: To assess efficacy and safety of adalimumab in patients with active persistent Behçet's arthritis who did not respond to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and to assess the impact of treatment on the cytokine milieu.

Methods: Our cohort comprised 10 patients with active arthritis who received adalimumab in a 24-week investigator-initiated prospective open-label study. Patients who relapsed within 12 weeks following adalimumab discontinuation could enter a 3-year extension study. The patients underwent a comprehensive assessment including questionnaires and measurement of inflammatory cytokines, adalimumab serum levels, and anti-drug antibodies.

Results: A significant improvement was observed in arthritis, disease activity visual analogue scales, Behçet's disease current activity form, and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, but not in health assessment questionnaire and functional assessment of chronic illness therapy fatigue scale questionnaire. Resolution of oral and urogenital ulcers was achieved in all patients. Significant reduction of pain was reported by 40% of patients. The disease relapsed in 9 of 10 patients, within 2–6 weeks following adalimumab discontinuation. Of the 7 patients who continued the study, arthritis was resolved in 5. Two patients with high neutralizing antidrug antibodies titer relapsed.

Conclusions: Adalimumab treatment achieved a significant improvement in arthritis, mucocutaneous manifestations, and IL-6 levels in all study patients but only 40% reported significant pain reduction. The arthritis relapsed in 90% of patients following adalimumab discontinuation and long-term treatment was required.

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