Objective. To evaluate efficacy and safety of subcutaneous (SC) and intravenous (IV) abatacept and background methotrexate (MTX) in Japanese patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and inadequate response to MTX (MTX-IR). Methods. Double-dummy, double-blind study (NCT01001832); 118 adults with ≥ 10 swollen joints, ≥ 12 tender joints and C-reactive protein (CRP) ≥ 0.8 mg/dL randomized 1:1 to SC abatacept (125 mg weekly) with IV loading (~ 10 mg/kg on Day 1), or IV abatacept (~ 10 mg/kg monthly) for 169 days, both also receiving MTX (6-8 mg/week). Primary endpoint was Day 169 American College of Rheumatology (ACR)20 response; other efficacy endpoints, safety and immunogenicity were assessed. Results. Similar proportions of patients achieved ACR20 responses at Day 169 with SC (91.5% [95% CI 81.3, 97.2]) and IV abatacept (83.1% [71.0, 91.6]). ACR50/70 responses, adjusted mean changes from baseline in Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index scores and remission rates (28-joint Disease Activity Score [CRP] < 2.6) were also comparable between groups. Serious adverse event frequencies (5.1% vs. 3.4%) were similar with both formulations. One patient per group tested seropositive for immunogenicity. Weekly SC abatacept dosing achieved mean serum concentrations > 10 μ g/mL (minimum therapeutic target). Conclusions. SC abatacept demonstrated comparable efficacy and safety to IV abatacept, with low immunogenicity rates, in MTX-IR Japanese patients with RA.
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