Background: This study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of long-term adalimumab (ADA) discontinuation after achievement of low disease activity (LDA) in Japanese patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to identify predictors of LDA maintenance. Methods: In the HOPEFUL-1 study, patients received initial therapy with either ADA plus methotrexate (MTX; intensive therapy) or MTX alone (standard therapy) for 26 weeks, followed by ADA + MTX for 26 weeks. In the HOPEFUL-2 study, patients received ADA + MTX (ADA continuation) or MTX alone (ADA discontinuation) for 52 weeks. HOPEFUL-3 was an observational study that enrolled patients who had completed HOPEFUL-2; these patients were followed for an additional 104 weeks. Results: Of the 172 patients enrolled in the HOPEFUL-3 study, 135 (ADA continuation, n = 61; ADA discontinuation, n = 74) with 28-joint Disease Activity Score using C-reactive protein (DAS28-CRP) values at both week 52 (start of HOPEFUL-2) and week 208 (end of HOPEFUL-3) were included in the effectiveness analysis. At week 208, 58 (95.1%) of 61 patients and 59 (79.7%) of 74 patients who continued or discontinued ADA, respectively, had LDA (DAS28-CRP <3.2). Initial intensive therapy was associated with a better outcome than standard therapy in terms of change in modified total Sharp score from week 0 to week 208, which was ≤0.5 (64% vs. 30%). The incidence of adverse events was significantly lower in the ADA discontinuation group than in the ADA continuation group (9.7% vs. 32.9%; p < 0.001). Conclusions: Approximately 80% of patients who discontinued ADA for 3 years after achieving LDA with ADA + MTX were still in LDA, with a lower incidence of adverse events than patients who continued ADA. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01346501. Registered 29 April 2011.
ASJC Scopus subject areas