Author(s): Cannon GW, Emkey RD, Denes A, Cohen SA, Saway PA,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To define clinical and laboratory outcomes of longterm recombinant interferon-gamma (rIFN-gamma) treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: Patients with RA (70) completing a 12-week multicenter double blind trial comparing rIFN-gamma with placebo were enrolled in a longterm prospective protocol evaluating rIFN-gamma in RA. RESULTS: The majority of patients sustained clinical improvement for one year. Eight (11\%) patients with RA continued to receive rIFN-gamma after 5 years. One patient fulfilled remission criteria. rIFN-gamma was well tolerated with remarkably few suspected adverse drug reactions. Forty-seven (67\%) patients discontinued rIFN-gamma because of lack of efficacy, 7 (10\%) because of concurrent illnesses, 5 (7\%) were not compliant to study protocol, 3 (4\%) developed suspected adverse drug reactions for a total of 62 (89\%) withdrawals over the 5 years of followup. Patients continuing rIFN-gamma treatment for 5 years had lower initial total leukocyte and neutrophil counts and higher hemoglobin and hematocrit levels than patients who discontinued rIFN-gamma during the 5-year followup. CONCLUSIONS: Longterm treatment of RA with rIFN-gamma was generally well tolerated. Although many patients maintained sustained clinical improvement for at least one year, the main reason for discontinuing the drug over 5 years was the lack of continued benefit.
This article was published in J Rheumatol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology