Objectives: To investigate the association between the extent of tapering tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) and the likelihood of achieving inactive disease in patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) Methods: We analyzed 1575 1-year follow-up interval data of 776 axSpA patients treated with TNFi for more than 1 year in a nationwide observational cohort. The decision on tapering TNFi was made by patients and their physicians. We quantified TNFi used during interval as a dose quotient (DQ). The intervals were classified into the heavy-tapering (DQ < 50), mild-tapering (DQ 50-99), and control groups (DQ = 100). Outcome variables included achieving Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score-inactive disease (ASDAS-ID) and major clinical response of Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI50) in the follow-up visit. The effects of TNFi tapering on the outcome were analyzed using the generalized estimating equation. Results: At the baseline visit, 91.1% of the patients showed a high disease activity (ASDAS-CRP ≥ 2.1). DQ of each interval was significantly influenced by the ASDAS-CRP measure in the prior follow-up (P < 0.001). ASDAS-ID was observed in 42.3% of the intervals. A multivariable analysis showed that the likelihood of outcome achievement was comparable between the control and mild-tapering groups, but significantly decreased in the heavy-tapering group (vs. the control group, adjusted OR = 0.28, [95% CI, 0.08-0.94]). In contrast, the likelihood to achieve BASDAI50 response was not different among the groups. In the subgroup of patients who reached ASDAS-ID 1 year after TNFi treatment (n = 327), ASDAS-ID was observed in 66.1% of the subsequent intervals, and only the mild-tapering group showed a likelihood of target maintenance comparable with that of the control group (adjusted OR = 1.25 [0.41-3.80]). This likelihood decreased with an increase in ASDAS-CRP. Conclusion: Mild tapering of TNFi has efficacy comparable with that of the standard-dose treatment for ASDAS-ID achievement in patients with axSpA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy