Infliximab Versus Conventional Combination Treatment and Seven-Year Work Loss in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis: Results of a Randomized Swedish Trial

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Objective To compare long-term work loss in methotrexate-refractory early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) randomized to addition of infliximab or conventional combination treatment. Methods Multicentre, two-arm, parallel, randomized, active-controlled, open-label trial. RA patients with <1y symptom duration were recruited from 15 rheumatology clinics in Sweden between 2002-2005. Patients who did not achieve low disease activity after 3-4 months methotrexate therapy were randomized to addition of infliximab or conventional combination treatment with sulfasalazine+hydroxychloroquine. Yearly sick leave and disability pension days over 7 years after randomization were retrieved from nationwide registers kept by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. Results Of 210 working age patients, 109 were randomized to infliximab (mean age=48.4y, 73% women) and 101 to conventional treatment (48.7y, 77%). The year before randomization the mean number of annual work days lost was 127 in the infliximab arm and 118 in the conventional treatment group (mean difference, 9; 95%CI, -23 to 39). Compared to the year before randomization, the mean changes at 7 years were -25 days in the infliximab and -26 days in the conventional treatment group (adjusted mean difference, 10; 95%CI, -25 to 46). The mean cumulative work loss days was 846 in the infliximab group and 701 in the conventional treatment group (adjusted mean difference, 104; 95%CI, -56 to 284). Conclusions Long-term work loss improved significantly in early RA randomized to infliximab+methotrexate or conventional combination therapy. No difference was detected between strategies, and the level of work loss days remained twice that observed in the general population.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT00764725 This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


External organisations
  • Karolinska Institutet
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1758–1766
JournalArthritis Care and Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 25
Publication categoryResearch