Objective. To study the effect of age on the risk–benefit balance of abatacept in RA.
Methods. Data from the French orencia and RA registry, including a 2-year follow-up, were used to compare the effectiveness and safety of abatacept according to age.
Results. Among the 1017 patients, 103 were very elderly (≥75 years), 215 elderly (65–74), 406 intermediate aged (50–64) and 293 very young (<50). At baseline, elderly and very elderly patients had longer disease duration, higher CRP levels and higher disease activity. These age groups showed a lower incidence of previous anti-TNF therapy and less common concomitant use of DMARDs, but a similar use of corticosteroid therapy. After adjusting for disease duration, RF/ACPA positivity, use of DMARDs or corticosteroids and previous anti-TNF treatment, the EULAR response (good or moderate) and the remission rate were not significantly different between the four age groups. At 6 months, the very elderly had a significantly lower likelihood of a good response than the very young (odds ratio = 0.15, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.68). The decrease in DAS28-ESR over the 24-month follow-up period did not differ by age. Increasing age was associated with a higher rate of discontinuation for adverse events, especially severe infections (per 100 patient-years: 1.73 in very young, 4.65 in intermediates, 5.90 in elderly, 10.38 in very elderly; P < 0.001).
Conclusion. The effectiveness of abatacept is not affected by age, but the increased rate of side effects, especially infections, in the elderly must be taken into account.