We monitored the efficacy of etanercept in Korean patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) refractory to methotrexate and other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD).
Thirty-five patients with polyarticular course JRA who had demonstrated an incomplete response to therapy with methotrexate and other DMARD were given etanercept 0.4 mg/kg body weight subcutaneously twice a week or 0.8 mg/kg once a week. Efficacy was monitored for 52 weeks.
At week 52, improvements in the American College of Rheumatology Pediatric30 criteria were demonstrated in 83% of patients (responder group). Patients responding to etanercept treatment showed the relief of signs and symptoms of JRA such as morning stiffness or pain and an improvement in physical activity from 4–8 weeks after treatment was started, even the next day after the first injection. Among the patients responding to etanercept treatment, elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein were normalised in 50% or 75%, respectively. Anaemia observed in five patients was corrected in four patients during the treatment. There were no significant safety issues over a 52-week period. No patient was withdrawn or hospitalised for serious side effects. Two patients complained of injection-site reactions.
In this 52-week study, it was concluded that etanercept rapidly relieved the signs and symptoms of JRA, improved the physical function and is efficacious and safe for the treatment of JRA patients refractory to methotrexate and other DMARD.