This symposium took place on 14th June 2017, as a part of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) 18th Annual European Congress in Madrid, Spain
Chairperson: Costantino Pitzalis1
Speakers: Josef S. Smolen,2 Ernest Choy3
1. Centre for Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
2. Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Medical University of Vienna; Department of Medicine, Hietzing Hospital, Vienna, Austria
3. Head of Rheumatology and Translational Research, Institute of Infection and Immunity; Director of Arthritis Research UK and Health and Care Research Wales CREATE Centre; Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
Disclosure: Prof Pitzalis has received grants and research support from AbbVie, AstraZeneca/MedImmune, Bristol Myers Squibb, Celgene, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Roche/Genentech/Chugai, and UCB, and has received honoraria or consultation fees from Janssen; he is also a consultant for several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Prof Smolen has received grants and research support from AbbVie, Janssen, Lilly, MSD, Pfizer, and Roche, and has received honoraria or consultation fees from AbbVie, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Astro, Celgene, Celtrion, Glaxo, ILTOO, Janssen, Lilly, MedImmune, MSD, Novartis-Sandoz, Pfizer, Roche, Samsung, Sanofi, and UCB. Prof Choy has received research grants and served as a member of advisory boards and speaker bureaus of Abbott Laboratories, Allergan, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Biogen, BMS, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, Chugai Pharma, Daiichi Sankyo, Eli Lilly, Ferring Pharmaceutical, GSK, Hospira, ISIS, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Janssen, MedImmune, Merrimack Pharmaceutical, MSD, Napp, Novimmune, Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron, Roche, R-Pharm, Sanofi-Aventis, Synovate, Tonix, and UCB.
Acknowledgements: Writing assistance was provided by Nicole Rossides, ApotheCom, London, UK.
Support: The publication of this article was funded by Janssen Pharmaceutica NV. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily Janssen Pharmaceutica NV.
Citation: EMJ Rheumatol. 2017;5[Suppl 13]:2-9.
The symposium discussed mechanisms of interleukin (IL)-6 blockade for the treatment and management of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Prof Smolen provided a clinical update of the latest efficacy and safety data on various anti-IL-6 drugs, including sirukumab. He noted that all anti-IL-6 drugs were efficacious in treating physical and mental symptoms of RA. When the efficacy of anti-IL-6 antibodies was compared between drugs, targeting the IL-6 ligand was similar to targeting its receptor. Prof Pitzalis described the pathophysiology of IL-6 in RA and the reason for targeting IL-6. Lastly, Prof Choy outlined the importance of measuring patient-reported outcomes to monitor symptom improvement and evaluate the impact of IL-6 on mental functioning. Because IL-6 modulates the hypothalamic pituitary axis, fatigue and depression are common in patients with RA. Evidence suggests that the inhibition of IL-6 activity reduces symptoms of fatigue and depression in patients with RA, and that improvement in mental health occurs independently, rather than as a consequence of improvement in physical functioning.
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