Abatacept Monotherapy Versus Abatacept Plus Methotrexate for Treatment-Refractory Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Methotrexate combination therapy improves abatacept efficacy as a first-line biologic agent for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, but it is unclear when abatacept is used later on, particularly after non–TNF inhibitor (TNFi) failure.

Study Question:

The objective of this study was to determine whether treatment response after non–TNFi inadequate response is different in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with abatacept in combination with or not with methotrexate.


Patients treated with abatacept monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate after non–TNFi failure were included.


Data from 46 patients aged 56 years [49–61] with 12 years [8–16] of disease duration were examined. Rituximab was the treatment used in the previous line for 75.0% of the combination therapy group (15/20) and 34.6% (9/26) in the monotherapy group. At 12 months, 38.5% (10/26) of patients were in good-to-moderate EULAR response in the monotherapy group compared with 25.0% (5/20) in the combination therapy group (P = 0.33). Treatment persistence at 12 months was 61.5% (16/26) in the monotherapy group and 35.0% (7/20) in the combination therapy group (P = 0.07).


Adding methotrexate to abatacept did not improve treatment response in patients with RA after non–TNFi inadequate response.

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