Introduction: Glucocorticoids are still a mainstream of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment. Reducing glucocorticoids should be attempted in all patients. However, choosing the right tapering strategy is challenging. The primary aim of our study is to determine the dose-response association between glucocorticoid tapering and risk of flare in RA. Methods: We conducted a case-crossover study to determine the factors associated to higher risk of flare in patients with RA. In case-crossover studies time-varying factors are assessed before events (hazard periods) and before control periods. We defined hazard periods as the 6 months immediately preceding flares of RA. Control periods were the 6 months prior to visits without flare. Exposure of interest was the tapering of glucocorticoids to various doses. Results: 508 patients with RA were included in the study and 267 (52.5%) had at least a flare and served as the case-crossover study population. 1545 visits were available for analysis and 345 (22.3%) flares were recorded. Discontinuation of glucocorticoids (ie, tapering to doses of 0 mg/day) and tapering to 0-2.5 mg/day was associated with higher risk of flare (adjusted OR (aOR) of 1.45, 95% CI: 1.13 to 2.24 and aOR of 1.37; 95% CI: 1.06 to 2.01, respectively). Tapering to doses >2.5 mg/day was not associated with significantly higher risk of flare. Conclusions: We found that tapering to doses of >2.5 mg/day was generally effective in terms of risk of flare. Flare risk was higher when glucocorticoids were tapered to doses ≤2.5 mg/day. Our study might help design new tapering strategies in patients with RA on biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

Tapering glucocorticoids and risk of flare in rheumatoid arthritis on biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs)

Adami, Giovanni;Fassio, Angelo;Rossini, Maurizio;Bertelle, Davide;Pistillo, Francesca;Benini, Camilla;Viapiana, Ombretta;Gatti, Davide
2023-01-01

Abstract

Introduction: Glucocorticoids are still a mainstream of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment. Reducing glucocorticoids should be attempted in all patients. However, choosing the right tapering strategy is challenging. The primary aim of our study is to determine the dose-response association between glucocorticoid tapering and risk of flare in RA. Methods: We conducted a case-crossover study to determine the factors associated to higher risk of flare in patients with RA. In case-crossover studies time-varying factors are assessed before events (hazard periods) and before control periods. We defined hazard periods as the 6 months immediately preceding flares of RA. Control periods were the 6 months prior to visits without flare. Exposure of interest was the tapering of glucocorticoids to various doses. Results: 508 patients with RA were included in the study and 267 (52.5%) had at least a flare and served as the case-crossover study population. 1545 visits were available for analysis and 345 (22.3%) flares were recorded. Discontinuation of glucocorticoids (ie, tapering to doses of 0 mg/day) and tapering to 0-2.5 mg/day was associated with higher risk of flare (adjusted OR (aOR) of 1.45, 95% CI: 1.13 to 2.24 and aOR of 1.37; 95% CI: 1.06 to 2.01, respectively). Tapering to doses >2.5 mg/day was not associated with significantly higher risk of flare. Conclusions: We found that tapering to doses of >2.5 mg/day was generally effective in terms of risk of flare. Flare risk was higher when glucocorticoids were tapered to doses ≤2.5 mg/day. Our study might help design new tapering strategies in patients with RA on biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.
glucocorticoids
inflammation
rheumatoid arthritis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1082059
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