Publications by authors named "Thomas F Schaible"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Long-term anti-tumor necrosis factor antibody therapy in rheumatoid arthritis patients sensitizes the pituitary gland and favors adrenal androgen secretion.

Arthritis Rheum 2003 Jun;48(6):1504-12

Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.

Objective: New insights into the role of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have expanded our understanding about the possible mechanisms by which anti-TNF antibody therapy reduces local synovial inflammation. Beyond local effects, anti-TNF treatment may modulate systemic antiinflammatory pathways such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This longitudinal anti-TNF therapy study was designed to assess these effects in RA patients.

Methods: RA patients were given 5 infusions of anti-TNF at weeks 0, 2, 6, 10, and 14, with followup observation until week 16. We measured serum levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17[OH]progesterone), cortisol, cortisone, androstenedione (ASD), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and DHEA sulfate in 19 RA patients.

Results: Upon treatment with anti-TNF, we observed a fast decrease in the levels of serum IL-6, particularly in RA patients who did not receive parallel prednisolone treatment (P = 0.043). In these RA patients who had not received prednisolone, the mean serum ACTH levels sharply increased after every injection of anti-TNF, which indicates a sensitization of the pituitary gland (not observed for the adrenal gland). During treatment, the ratio of serum cortisol to serum ACTH decreased, which also indicates a sensitization of the pituitary gland (P < 0.001), and which was paralleled by constant cortisol secretion. The adrenal androgen ASD significantly increased relative to its precursor 17(OH)progesterone (P = 0.013) and relative to cortisol (P = 0.009), which indicates a normalization of adrenal androgen production. The comparison of patients previously treated with prednisolone and those without previous prednisolone revealed marked differences in the central and adrenal level of this endocrine axis during long-term anti-TNF therapy.

Conclusion: Long-term therapy with anti-TNF sensitizes the pituitary gland and improves adrenal androgen secretion in patients who have not previously received prednisolone treatment. These changes are indicative of normalization of the HPA axis and must therefore be considered as evidence of an additional antiinflammatory influence of anti-TNF treatment in patients with RA.
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June 2003

Open label study to assess infliximab safety and timing of onset of clinical benefit among patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

J Rheumatol 2002 Apr;29(4):667-77

Centocor Inc., Malvern, Pennsylvania, USA.

Objective: To assess the timing of onset of clinical benefit following the initial infusion of infliximab and to obtain additional safety experience of infliximab when given in an office setting to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In addition, the safety of reducing the infusion time from 2 hours to 1 hour was evaluated.

Methods: Patients (n = 553) with active RA despite receiving methotrexate (MTX) were treated with infliximab 3 mg/kg given over 2 h at baseline (Week 0), and Weeks 2, 6, and 14 in this multicenter open-label trial. Patients continued to receive a stable dose of MTX (> or = 7.5 mg/wk). At selected sites, patients tolerating the first 4 infusions were eligible to receive 2 additional infusions at twice the usual infusion rate (given over 1 h). Patients returned for efficacy assessments at 48 h following the initial infusion and several times throughout study participation.

Results: By 48 h following the first infusion, significant (p < 0.001) improvements were observed in duration of morning stiffness (34% mean improvement), physician's global disease assessment scores (30%), patient's global disease assessment scores (25%), and patient's pain assessment scores (30%). By Week 16, 52 to 63% mean improvements in these efficacy variables were observed (p < 0.001), the significant improvement was maintained through the end of study participation in the subset of patients who received the additional 1 h infliximab infusions. Through 16 weeks, 10% (54/553) of patients reported an adverse event associated with at least 1 of the 4 infusion procedures; the majority were mild and transient in nature. In the subset of 197 patients who received 2 additional infusions over 1 h, no increase in the frequency or severity of infusion-related adverse events was observed compared to the 2 h infusion.

Conclusion: Infliximab administered to patients with RA in an outpatient setting resulted in significant clinical improvement within 48 h that was sustained with additional infusions. Approximately 10% of patients experienced an infusion reaction, highlighting the need for direct supervision over patient treatment. Patients who tolerated infliximab infusions given over 2 h also tolerated a 1 h infusion.
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April 2002