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עמוד בית
Tue, 28.05.24

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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

March 2020
Yonatan Edel, Iftach Sagy, Elisheva Pokroy-Shapira, Shirly Oren, Ariela Dortort Lazar, Mohammad Egbaria, Shachaf Shiber, Bat Sheva Tal and Yair Molad

Background: Guidelines recommend initiation of parenteral biologic or oral target-specific disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs/tsDMARDs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who do not adequately respond to conventional DMARDs.

Objectives: To compare the preferred route of administration of bDMARDs or tsDMARDs in RA patients who were previously treated with at least one type.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted of consecutive RA patients previously prescribed bDMARDs or tsDMARDs. We analyzed the factors associated with patients' preferred route of administration.

Results: The cohort included 95 patients, mostly female (72.6%), seropositive (81.05%), mean age 63.4 ± 11.9 years. The oral route was preferred by 39 patients (41%) and 56 (59%) preferred the parenteral route. Most patients (65.9%) preferred to continue with their current route (P < 0.001). Switching from a current route was less common with patients who were currently using the oral route (13.3% vs. 38.2%, P = 0.04). Many patients (53.8%) who preferred the oral route had never experienced it before, while this was rare (3.6%) regarding the parenteral route (P = 0.0001). Employment status was associated with preference of the subcutaneous route over the intravenous route of bDMARDs (P = 0.01). Of the 21 patients who had previously experienced both parenteral and oral treatment, 16 (76.2%) preferred the oral route.

Conclusions: RA patients preferred to continue treatment with an administration route they have already experienced. However, when choosing an unexperienced route, significantly more patients preferred the oral route. Our results strengthen the understanding of patient preferences, which could improve drug adherence, compliance, and disease outcome.

Fabrizio Cantini MD PhD, Laura Niccoli MD, Giulia Franchi MD, Arianna Damiani MD and Maurizio Benucci MD

We describe the features of nocebo, and its impact in studies of transition from the originator to the respective biosimilar in inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Investigations in healthy volunteers as well as in the neurology and anesthesiology fields demonstrated the involved cerebral areas and the neurotransmitter pathways responsible for the nocebo response. Whether these findings are applicable to patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases remains to be demonstrated. Nocebo may account for part of the after-switching biosimilar failures. However, in the absence of validated classification or diagnostic criteria, specific neurochemical and neuroimaging studies, the lack of data on serum tumor necrosis factor and drug levels, and the disease improvement after the switching back to the originator biologic observed in some patients, the nocebo diagnosis remains the role of the individual clinician. Investigations on nocebo pathophysiology and diagnosis are required to address its impact in after-transition biosimilar studies in rheumatology.

October 2018
Adi Guy MD, Kassem Sharif MD, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD, Alec Krosser MD, Boris Gilburd PhD, Eleanor Zeruya MD, Ora Shovman MD, Abdulla Watad MD and Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Patients with rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), encounter significantly higher rates of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system maintains hemodynamic stability through blood pressure regulation. When dysregulated, this system has been implicated in various pathological conditions, including cardiovascular events.

Objectives: To investigate the levels of renin and aldosterone in RA and AS patients.

Methods: Three groups were recruited: patients with RA, patients with AS, and healthy controls. Subjects were excluded if they had a diagnosis of hypertension, hyperaldosteronism, or renal artery stenosis, or were taking drugs that might have affected renin levels. Renin and aldosterone levels were measured using commercially available kits. Data were analyzed using univariate analyses and multivariate regression analyses.

Results: Fifty-one subjects were enrolled in the study: 15 with RA, 4 with AS, and 32 healthy controls. At the univariate analysis, the three groups differed in age (P = 0.005), renin levels (P = 0.013), and aldosterone-to-renin ratio (P = 0.019). At the post-hoc tests, both AS and RA patients differed from controls for renin levels and the aldosterone-to-renin ratio. At the multivariate regression analysis, AS patients had lower renin values than controls (beta standardized regression coefficient -0.323, P = 0.022).

Conclusion: Patients with RA tended to have lower levels of plasma renin compared to healthy subjects. This finding indicates that the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system might not be directly involved in the process that results in increased cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis.

April 2018
Mahmoud Abu–Shakra MD, Devy Zisman MD, Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Howard Amital MD, Yair Levy MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Moshe Tishler MD, Yair Molad MD, Suhail Aamar MD, Itzhak Roser MD, Nina Avshovich MD, Daphna Paran MD, Tatiana Reitblat MD, Reuven Mader MD, Hillel Savin MD, Joshua Friedman MD, Nicky Lieberman MD and Sharon Ehrlich MD

Background: Chronic fatigue is common among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), affecting quality of life. Osteoporosis is a prevalent co-morbidity in RA patients.

Objectives: To assess the effect of long-term treatment with tocilizumab on fatigue and bone mineral density (BMD) in RA patients with inadequate response to synthetic or biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. 

Methods: In this multicenter, open-label, non-controlled, single-arm study, patients ≥ 18 years of age received intravenous tocilizumab 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks for 96 weeks. The primary outcome was the change in Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT)-Fatigue score from baseline to weeks 24, 48, 72, and 96. BMD was assessed before and 96 weeks after treatment. 

Results: The study comprised 145 patients (mean age 53.4 ± 13.4 years, 83.4% women). Of these, 88 (60.7%) completed the 2 year treatment period. The mean FACIT-Fatigue score improved consistently starting from week 4 and showed a statistically significant increase of 5.0 ± 9.7, 6.8 ± 10.5, 7.3 ± 10.9, and 7.3 ± 10.4 from baseline to weeks 24, 48, 72, and 96, respectively (P < 0.0001). Mean BMD of femoral neck and total spine remained stable. Disease activity, acute phase reactants, and composite efficacy measures decreased during the study, while hemoglobin levels increased. Adverse events and serious adverse events were as expected for the known and previously described data.

Conclusions: Tocilizumab therapy for 2 years significantly and clinically decreased fatigue. BMD remained stable and no new safety issue was reported. 

 

Vitaly Finkelshtein MD, Yair Lampl MD, Mordechai Lorberboym MD, Andrew Kanner MD, Dominique Ben-Ami Raichman MD, Ron Dabby MD and Amir Tanay MD
November 2017
Maria Antonietta D’Agostino MD PhD

Over the last 15 years ultrasound has gained importance for the clinical management of patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis. This review summarizes the recent developments and achievements in the use of ultrasound in RA, as well as the unmet needs.

August 2017
Paola Conigliaro MD PhD, Paola Triggianese MD PhD, Maria Sole Chimenti MD PhD, Marco Tonelli MD, Flavia Sunzini MD, Barbara Kroegler MD and Roberto Perricone MD

Background: The goals of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are remission and low disease activity (LDA). However, many patients do not reach or maintain these targets with regard to disease control. 

Objective: To identify predictive factors of remission/LDA in a cohort of RA patients who started treatment with first line tumor necrosis factor-inhibitors (TNF-i). 

Methods: We included 308 RA patients treated with first line TNF-i for 2 years to evaluate remission/LDA based on the 28-joint disease activity score (DAS28). Predictive factors considered for achievement of remission/LDA were: gender, age at the time of TNF-i treatment, early arthritis, baseline C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate levels, RF/anti-citrullinated protein antibody positivity, good/moderate European League Against Rheumatism response at 6 months, co-morbidities, and concomitant disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Intention to treat, receiver operating characteristic curve, and univariate and multivariate analyses by logistic regression were performed. 

Results: Positive predictors of remission/LDA in both the univariate and the multivariate analyses were: male gender, age at the time of TNF-i treatment ≤ 54 years, negative baseline CRP, and concomitant DMARDs. The presence of any co-morbidity resulted to be a negative predictor of remission/LDA in both the univariate and the multivariate analyses. 

Conclusions: Demographic and clinical features were identified as reliable predictors of both the achievement and the maintenance of treatment targets in a cohort of RA patients treated for 2 years with first line TNF-i. 

 

July 2017
Paola Conigliaro MD PhD, Paola Triggianese MD PhD, Emiliano Giampà MD, Maria Sole Chimenti MD PhD, Barbara Kroegler MD and Roberto Perricone MD

Background: Abatacept acts as a co-stimulation modulator preventing activation of T cells. Although it is approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), its effects on adaptive immune response have not been fully elucidated. 

Objectives: To observe, in a cohort study, based on a clinical practice setting, the variation of peripheral blood T cells, immunoglobulin levels, and autoantibodies in the serum of RA patients during abatacept therapy. 

Methods: Our study comprised 48 RA patients treated with abatacept. All clinical data were collected at baseline and after 3 months of treatment. Clinical and laboratory tests included erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, 28-joint disease activity score, RF, anti-citrullinated protein antibody, total immunoglobulins, immunoglobulin A (IgA), immunoglobulin G (IgG), immunoglobulin M (IgM), and lymphocyte sub-population. 

Results: Total immunoglobulin serum levels significantly decreased after 3 months of treatment and correlated positively with disease activity both at baseline and after 3 months of abatacept treatment. A reduction of serum IgM, IgG, IgA and RF was also demonstrated. The absolute number and percentage of cytotoxic (CD8+) T cells significantly decreased after 3 months of abatacept treatment, in particular the percentage of cytotoxic (CD8+) T cells significantly decreased only in patients responding to the treatment.

Conclusions: Our results highlight a different role of abatacept in the modulation of the adaptive immune response in RA by the reduction of polyclonal B-cell activation and cytotoxic T cells. 

 

August 2016
Isabel Santos MD, Pedro Cantista MD, Carlos Vasconcelos MD PhD and João Amado MD PhD

Background: The effects of balneotherapy on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are still controversial partly due to poor methodology used in randomized controlled trials, as reported in the international medical literature. 

Objectives: To determine whether spa therapy plus pharmacological treatment offers any benefit in the management of RA as compared to pharmacological treatment alone.

Methods: We conducted a prospective, controlled, unblinded randomly assigned study of patients with RA according to American College of Rheumatology criteria. Following the 2007 recommendations of AFRETH, the method designed for this study was “immediate treatment versus delayed treatment.” All patients were followed at the Centro Hospitalar do Porto and each physician observed the same patients throughout the study. Patients continued with their usual medications and maintained their daily life activities at home, at leisure and/or in the workplace. The spa therapy group received spa treatments for 21 days at S. Jorge Spa-Santa Maria da Feira. The main outcome measure was the HAQ-DI; the moderated regression analysis, together with the Johnson-Neyman technique, was used for statistical analysis.

Results: HAQ-DI at the end of treatment (21 days) and at the 3 month follow-up was improved in the spa group (odds ratio 0.37, confidence interval 0.09–0.64, P = 0.01 at 21 days, and 0.44, 0.15–0.72, P = 0.004 at 3 months).

Conclusions:

April 2015
Jana Petríková MD PhD, Peter Jarčuška MDPhD, Marián Švajdler MD, Daniel Pella MD PhD and Želmíra Macejová MD PhD MPH
February 2015
Attila Kovacs MD PhD, Adelina G. Siminischi MD, Beáta Baksay MD, Andras Gall MD, Maria Takacs MD and Zoltan Szekanecz MD PhD
Abdulla Watad MD, Marina Perelman MD, Ribhi Mansour MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR and Howard Amital MD MHA
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