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Adalimumab for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis 




Objective. To assess the efficacy and safety of adalimumab in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods. A Cochrane systematic review was performed. The literature search, selection and assessment of the methodological quality of the studies, and the data extraction were performed according to the standard methodology of the Cochrane reviews. Outcome measures included American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and European League Against Rheumatism responses, Disease Activity Score 28 and components of the ACR response, and radiographic and safety data. Weighted mean difference and relative risk were used for reporting continuous and dichotomous data, respectively. Number needed to treat (NNT) or to harm (NNH) were estimated when appropriate. When significant heterogeneity was not found, data were pooled.

Results. Six studies with 2390 patients were included in this review. With adalimumab 40 mg every other week (eow) methotrexate versus placebo methotrexate, the absolute risk differences to achieve an ACR20, ACR50, and ACR70 response at 52 weeks were 35%, 32%, and 19% with NNT of 2.9, 3.1, and 5.3, respectively. At 52 weeks, adalimumab 40 mg eow and 20 mg every week (ew) significantly slowed the radiological progression. With adalimumab 40 mg eow versus placebo, the absolute risk differences to achieve an ACR20, ACR50, and ACR70 response at 24/26 weeks were 23.64%, 15.31%, and 12.22% with NNT of 5.0, 7.0, and 9.0, respectively. In most of the analyzed studies and comparisons, there were no significant differences in safety outcomes between adalimumab and control groups.

Conclusion. On the basis of studies reviewed here, adalimumab is efficacious in the treatment of RA. No serious adverse effects occurred. (First Release May 1, 2006; J Rheumatol 2006;33:1075–81)

Key Indexing Terms:


From the Rheumatology Service, Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Sevilla, Spain.

This review is published as a Cochrane Review in The Cochrane Library 2005, Issue 3. Cochrane Reviews are regularly updated as new evidence emerges and in response to feedback, and The Cochrane Library should be consulted for the most recent version of the Review.

F. Navarro-Sarabia, MD, PhD, Chair, Rheumatology Service; R. Ariza-Ariza, MD, PhD, Rheumatologist; B. Hernández-Cruz, MD, MSc, Rheumatologist; I. Villanueva, MD, PhD, Rheumatologist.

Address reprint requests to Dr. R. Ariza-Ariza, Rheumatology Service, Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Avda Dr Fedriani 3, 41009 Sevilla, Spain. E-mail:

Accepted for publication January 20, 2006.

Return to June 2006 Table of Contents

© 2006. The Journal of Rheumatology Publishing Company Limited.
All rights reserved.