OBJECTIVES: Baricitinib is a Janus-kinase (JAK) 1/2 inhibitor, approved for the treatment of moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with inadequate response to conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (csDMARDs). We report the first real-life experience with baricitinib in a monocentric cohort of unselected RA patients.METHODS: We enrolled consecutive RA patients starting baricitinib. At baseline and after 4, 12, 24 and 48 weeks we assessed the disease activity by composite indices (SDAI, CDAI and DAS28CRP) and ultrasonography, and we recorded any adverse events. The primary endpoint was the percentage of patients achieving SDAI remission at week 4.RESULTS: We enrolled 59 patients [(F:M = 50:9, median age 58.1 years (IQR 12.8), median disease duration 144 (IQR 150) months] treated with baricitinib in combination with a csDMARD (52.5%) or monotherapy (47.5%) for a median follow-up of 24 weeks (IQR 36). The 12-month drug retention rate was 74%. At weeks 4, 12, 24 and 48 we observed a significant reduction of DAS28, CDAI and SDAI, global health and pain (p<0.001 for all). After 4 weeks of treatment, 12% of patients achieved SDAI remission. Concomitant csDMARDs, previous biological DMARDs, gender, seropositivity and BMI did not affect the efficacy of baricitinib. Baricitinib allowed a significant reduction in prednisone dose after 12 and 24 weeks and a rapid and sustained ultrasound improvement. No serious adverse events, serious infections or cardiovascular events were recorded.CONCLUSIONS: Our study confirms the efficacy and safety profile and rapid onset of the effect of baricitinib in RA patients in a real-life setting.
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