Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatment Patterns and Outcomes in Patients Treated With Abatacept

Sarfaroj Khan 


February 10, 2021


  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients treated with biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) including abatacept experienced reduced disease activity.

  • Patients receiving abatacept as the first- or second-line therapy spent significantly longer on treatment than those receiving other bDMARDs.

Why this matters

  • Findings warrant future studies to determine how abatacept and other bDMARDs are used in RA management during and after the pandemic.

Study design

  • A multicentre, retrospective, observational study of 213 patients with RA (mean age, 55.2 years; 71.4% female) treated with abatacept at any line of therapy (LOT) at 4 UK centres (2013-2017).

  • All patients received up to 8 LOTs.

  • Funding: Bristol Myers Squibb and Health Economics and Outcomes Research Ltd.

Key results

  • Treatment with abatacept, or any other bDMARD, was associated with reductions in disease activity score for 28 joints–erythrocyte sedimentation rate or disease activity score for 28 joints–C-reactive protein at:

    • 6 months (LS mean: −0.04; 95% CI, −0.45 to 0.38; P=.86 and −0.16; 95% CI, −0.50 to 0.18; P=.36, respectively); and

    • 12 months (LS mean: −0.56; 95% CI, −1.04 to −0.07; P=.03 and −0.37; 95% CI, −0.75 to 0.01; P=.06, respectively).

  • The distribution of European League Against Rheumatism responses (good/moderate/no response) was more favourable for patients receiving abatacept vs those receiving other bDMARDs at:

    • 6 months (22.8%/41.3%/35.9% vs 16.6%/41.4%/42.1%); and

    • 12 months (27.9%/36.1%/36.1% vs 21.2%/34.5%/44.2%).

  • Patients receiving abatacept at LOT1 (n=68; median, 53.4 vs 17.4 months) and LOT2 (n=59; median, 40.1 vs 17.1 months; P<.01 for both) spent significantly longer on treatment vs those receiving other bDMARDs.

  • For patients receiving abatacept at LOT1, 85.6%, 70.9% and 70.9% of patients were still in receipt of abatacept at 12, 24 and 36 months, respectively, vs 63.4%, 39.3% and 31.7% of patients receiving other bDMARDs, respectively.

  • Among patients who discontinued after 6 months, a greater proportion experienced infection requiring antibiotics when receiving other bDMARDs vs those receiving abatacept.


  • Retrospective design.


Choy E, Groves L, Sugrue D, Hurst M, Houghton J, Venkatachalam S, Patel YI, Maxwell JR, Pollock KG, Henning S. Outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with abatacept: a UK multi-centre observational study. BMC Rheumatol. 2021;5(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s41927-020-00173-0. PMID: 33536080 View full text  

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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