The use of anti-tumour necrosis factor-α therapies for rheumatoid arthritis in Singapore

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Anti-tumour necrosis factor-α (anti-TNF-α) agents are biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) used in the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We describe the demographic and therapeutic profiles of 22 patients who received anti-TNF-α therapy for RA in two hospitals in Singapore. The majority of patients were female, middle-aged, full-time working adults with limitation in their social or vocational activities. The mean RA disease duration was 101.4 ± 101.6 months (3.4–401.3). All received conventional DMARDs for a mean of almost 7 years before starting anti-TNF-α, with the majority having failed two or more DMARDs. The most commonly used anti-TNF-α therapies were infliximab (90.9%), etanercept (18.2%) and adalimumab (4.5%). Only one patient developed a major infection, while three developed minor infections requiring temporary cessation of anti-TNF-α therapy. There were no cases of malignancy, drug-induced lupus, demyelinating disease or congestive heart failure during an average of 36.9 ± 21.9 months (3.9–63.0) from initiation of therapy.

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