Up to 56% of patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with Actemra (tocilizumab, known as RoActemra within the EU) for over two years, will achieve disease remission, according to new data presented today at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) congress. Remission, as defined by DAS28 <2.6, provides real-life benefits to people living with RA by meaningfully improving disease symptoms which help them to continue or regain normal day-to-day functioning.
Commenting on the data, Professor Josef Smolen, University of Vienna, Austria, said, “Consistently high levels of remission such as these are really significant for both doctors and patients – firstly, in demonstrating that very low disease activity and remission is possible in large numbers and in all types of patients, and secondly, by confirming that tocilizumab offers us an effective long-term treatment which can make a dramatic difference to a patient’s life.”
These long-term data add to the wealth of evidence supporting the efficacy of Actemra in achieving consistently high remission rates. The safety profile from the long-term extension studies is consistent with that previously reported and the most common adverse events reported were upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, headache and hypertension.
In addition to disease remission, Actemra has also demonstrated efficacy in preventing the progression of joint destruction. One year results from the LITHE study, also presented at EULAR, demonstrate that patients treated with Actemra had three times less progression of joint damage (measured by Total Sharp Score) compared to those treated with methotrexate (MTX) alone. Inhibiting the structural damage to joints in people living with RA is a critical measure of the effectiveness of an RA treatment.
Significantly more patients treated with Actemra 8mg/kg in the LITHE study achieved remission at 6 months compared to those treated with MTX alone (33% vs 4%), and these rates continued to increase over time to 1 year (47% vs. 8%). Recently announced top-line results from LITHE demonstrate that these benefits are maintained or improved at 2 years.
Actemra also improved the patients’ ability to perform normal daily activities, as assessed by the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ).
Results from the phase III AMBITION study demonstrated that Actemra is the only product to have proven superiority to MTX, the current standard therapy, in monotherapy in ACR20, ACR50 and ACR70 responses (at 6 months), and 40% of patients who had no prior treatment with DMARDs achieved DAS28 remission at week 24.