Interleukin (IL)-6 is a pleiotropic cytokine that is involved in the pathogenesis of various rheumatic diseases. Direct inhibition of the IL-6 pathway by an anti-IL-6 receptor or inhibiting the ligand itself has proved to be efficacious in the treatment of these diseases. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, adult-onset Still's disease, large vessel vasculitis including giant cell arteritis and Takayasu disease, systemic sclerosis, and polymyalgia rheumatica respond well to IL-6 inhibition as expected. However, no clinically meaningful effect has been observed with regard to IL-6 blockade in ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. This review discusses the current state of IL-6 targeting approaches in various rheumatic diseases other than rheumatoid arthritis.
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