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A new study has highlighted a number of potential risk factors for serious infections associated with abatacept, a commonly-prescribed treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
The French multicentre study, backed by the French Society of Rheumatology, aimed to address the lack of data available regarding the rate and predicting factors for serious infections in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with abatacept in daily practice.
Real-life data was drawn from the Orencia and Rheumatoid Arthritis (ORA) registry, collated by trained clinical nurses at baseline and then after three months, six months and every six months or at disease relapse over a five-year period.
A serious infection was defined as an infection occurring during abatacept treatment, or the three months following the drug's withdrawal, that required hospitalisation, intravenous antibiotics or resulted in death.
According to results published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, a total of 78 serious infections occurred in 69 of the 976 patients included the study, which was a higher rate than had previously been observed in clinical trials of the drug.
Predictive factors of serious infections, as assessed by multivariate analysis, included old age and a history of previous serious or recurrent infections.
The researchers said: "In common practice, patients treated with abatacept had more comorbidities than in clinical trials and serious infections were slightly more frequently observed. In the ORA registry, predictive risk factors of serious infections include age and history of serious infections."
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