Asian Researchers Report Success With Biosimilars in the Rheumatology Clinic

During this week’s 21st Congress of the Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology and Australian Rheumatology Association, held April 8-11 in Brisbane, Australia, multiple groups of researchers are reporting on the real-world use of biosimilars in rheumatology. According to these research teams, biosimilars are proving to be effective in the real-world clinical setting.
The Center for Biosimilars Staff
April 10, 2019
During this week’s 21st Congress of the Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology and Australian Rheumatology Association, held April 8-11 in Brisbane, Australia, multiple groups of researchers are reporting on the real-world use of biosimilars in rheumatology. According to these research teams, biosimilars are proving to be effective in the real-world clinical setting.

First, researchers from 2 centers in India studied patients with spondyloarthritis in a prospective study over a 2-year period.1

In total, 55 patients, with a mean age of 32 years, were included in the study. All patients had magnetic resonance imaging of the spine and sacroiliac joints that showed inflammation. Extraskeletal manifestations, such as uveitis, dactylitis, and iridocyclitis, were present in 20 patients.

The researchers write that patients who were treated with biosimilar agents “showed very good disease remission,” with a mean score on the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index of 1.8 and a mean score on the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index of 2.1 at the end of 12 months.

While spondyloarthritis does respond to small-molecule drugs, the authors write, “biosimilars are very effective” in this patient population, and “remission is good with a good quality of life in our cohort.”

Another group of researchers reported on the use of biosimilar etanercept, adalimumab, and rituximab among the 57 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (n= 30), spondyloarthritis (n = 17), psoriatic arthritis (PA) (n = 5), polymyositis (n = 1), and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (n =4) in their center.

Among the patients with spondyloarthritis, all received biosimilar adalimumab, and all achieved sustained remission, write the authors. Among the patients with PA, all received biosimilar adalimumab and are now in remission; 3 continue to receive on-demand biosimilar adalimumab, and 2 receive methotrexate. Among patients with SLE, all 4 received biosimilar rituximab, and all patients discontinued steroid therapy and are currently receiving mycophenolate and hydroxychloroquine.

In terms of adverse events, 2 patients among the 12 with RA who received biosimilar etanercept experienced cutaneous allergies, and 1 developed tuberculosis. Additionally, 2 patients with rituximab developed tuberculosis and impetigo.

The authors concluded that biosimilars are safe and effective in allowing patients to achieve remission from inflammatory diseases.  

References
1. Manivannan A, Thiyagarajan D, Murugan M, Nallasivam S. Remmission in spondyloarthritis—2 year prospective study in a teaching hospital, South India. Presented at: 21st Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology Congress; April 8-11, 2019; Brisbane, Australia. Abstract 1-118.

2. Nallasivan S, Nirmal B, Sangeetha A, Rajendran R. Biosimilars in rheumatology—real life experience over 3 years. Presented at: 21st Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology Congress; April 8-11, 2019; Brisbane, Australia. Abstract 3-069.

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