Comparative effectiveness and survival of infliximab, adalimumab, and etanercept for rheumatoid arthritis patients in the Hellenic Registry of Biologics: Low rates of remission and 5-year drug survival

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Objective: To compare effectiveness, drug survival, and safety between infliximab, adalimumab, and etanercept, in a nationwide cohort of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Methods: This study is a prospective cohort study of 1208 active RA patients. Effectiveness, drug survival, and serious adverse events during entire follow-up (median 2.9 years) were monitored. Results: EULAR and CDAI responses were comparable between the three agents (EULAR good/moderate responses at 12 months ranged 76-79%). At 12 months, 15-23% achieved remission. For adalimumab and etanercept, adjusted hazard rate (HR) for EULAR/ACR remission (reference: infliximab) was 2.7 and 2.1 (95% confidence interval was 1.7-4.1 and 1.3-3.4, respectively); males (HR 1.6; 1.1-2.4), use of glucocorticoids (HR 2.0; 13-3.0), and swollen joint count > 7 (HR 0.36; 0.24-0.55) were independent predictors. Five-year drug survival was 31%, 43%, and 49% for infliximab, adalimumab, and etanercept, respectively (p = 0.010). Infliximab was associated with significantly more withdrawals due to adverse events. Disease activity, CRP, and use of glucocorticoids predicted efficacy-related drug survival; age, use of methotrexate, and prior DMARDs failures predicted safety-related survival. Risk for serious infections was lower with adalimumab (odds ratio [OR] 0.62; 0.38-1.00) or etanercept (OR 0.39; 0.21-0.72) than infliximab, independent of the effects of age (OR 1.65; 1.37-2.00 per 10 years), tender joint count > 10 (OR 1.86; 1.21-2.86), and glucocorticoids >35 mg/week (OR 1.83; 1.12-2.99). Conclusions: Response rates were comparable among anti-TNF agents. Overall, 5-year drug survival was below 50%, with infliximab demonstrating increased safety-related discontinuations. Remission rates are low in clinical practice. Strategies to increase effectiveness and long-term survival of anti-TNF agents in RA are needed. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Irini Flouri
  • Theodora E. Markatseli
  • Paraskevi V. Voulgari
  • Kyriaki A. Boki
  • Ioannis Papadopoulos
  • Loukas Settas
  • Dimitrios Zisopoulos
  • Fotini N. Skopouli
  • Alexios Iliopoulos
  • George K. Bertsias
  • Pierre Geborek
  • Alexandros A. Drosos
  • Dimitrios T. Boumpas
  • Prodromos Sidiropoulos
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity


  • Arthritis, Biological therapies, Efficacy, Safety, Infections, Glucocorticoids, Registry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-457
JournalSeminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch