Objective. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy and safety of tacrolimus in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods. We surveyed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and open-label studies that examined the efficacy and toxicity of tacrolimus in disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) - and methotrexate (MTX)-resistant or -intolerant patients with active RA patients using Medline, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and by performing manual searches. Meta-analysis of RCTs was performed to determine treatment efficacy and safety outcomes. The results are presented as risk ratios (RRs), weighted mean differences (WMDs), or standardized mean differences (SMDs). Open-label studies were included in the systematic review. Results. The four RCTs included 1014 DMARD-resistant or -intolerant patients with DMARD-resistant or -intolerant RA. Median follow-up duration was 6 (range 46) months. American College of Rheumatology 20, 50, and 70 (ACR20, ACR50, and ACR70) response rates were significantly higher in the tacrolimus 3 mgday group (n 390) than in the controls (n 402) [primary efficacy outcome, ACR50; risk ratio (RR) 2.583, 95 confidence interval (CI) 1.0956.092, p 0.030], and efficacies in the tacrolimus 1.52 mgday group showed a similar pattern. Patients treated with tacrolimus withdrew from treatment because of adverse events (n 222) (primary safety outcome, withdrawals due to adverse events; RR 1.475, 95 CI 0.8952.187, p 0.053) more frequently than controls (n 231), although this was not significant. All four open-label studies found that tacrolimus was safe, well-tolerated, and provided clinical benefits. Conclusions. Tacrolimus, at dosages of 1.53 mgday, was found to be effective in DMARD-resistant or -intolerant patients with active RA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy