Objective. This 24-week, placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized study (NCT00791921) investigated efficacy and safety of certolizumab pegol (CZP) in Japanese rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in whom methotrexate (MTX) cannot be administered. Methods. A total of 230 patients were randomized to subcutaneous CZP 200 mg (induction dosing: 400 mg at Weeks 0, 2 and 4) or placebo every 2 weeks. Results. ACR20 responses with CZP were rapid and significant versus placebo at Week 1, sustained to Week 12 (67.2% vs. 14.9%) and Week 24 (63.8% vs. 11.4%). Week 24-modified Total Sharp Score (mTSS) change from baseline (CFB) was 0.48 (CZP) versus 2.45 (placebo). CZP treatment was associated with higher Week 12 ACR20 responses versus placebo (with non-MTX disease modifying antirheumatic drugs [DMARDs], 74.2% vs. 20.0%; without [monotherapy], 59.3% vs. 8.2%) and inhibition of radiographic progression at Week 24 (mTSS CFB; with non-MTX DMARDs, 0.24 vs. 1.61; monotherapy, 0.68 vs. 3.65). Incidences of serious adverse events were 11.2% (CZP) and 2.6% (placebo); one CZP patient died of dissecting aortic aneurysm. Conclusion. CZP treatment with and without non-MTX DMARDs in Japanese patients in whom MTX cannot be administered resulted in rapid, sustained reductions in RA signs and symptoms. Notably, CZP monotherapy showed significant inhibition of radiographic progression.
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