Author(s): Seitz M, Reichenbach S, Bonel HM, Adler S, Wermelinger F,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of IL-6 blockade using tocilizumab in inducing remission of arterial large vessel vasculitides (LVV). METHODS: Five consecutive patients with giant-cell arteritis (GCA) and two with Takayasu's arteritis (TA) were treated by tocilizumab infusions (8 mg/kg). Tocilizumab was given every other week for the first month and once monthly thereafter. Clinical symptoms of disease activity, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) level and glucocorticoid (GC) dosage necessary to maintain remission were prospectively assessed. MR angiography was performed to monitor local inflammation. RESULTS: Of the seven patients three were newly diagnosed and four showed GC resistance, i.e. GC could not be lowered to less than 7.5 mg/day. The mean follow-up time was 4.3 months (range 3-7 months). All patients achieved a rapid and complete clinical response and normalisation of the acute phase proteins. Remarkably, prednisone dosage could be reduced within 12 weeks to a mean of 2.5 mg/day (range 0-10 mg/day). No relapse and no drug-related side effects were noted. CONCLUSION: Collectively the data suggest that IL-6 blockade using tocilizumab qualifies as a therapeutic option to induce rapid remission in large vessel vasculitides.
This article was published in Swiss Med Wkly
and referenced in Journal of Arthritis