Anakinra Evaluated for Recurrent Pericarditis

Findings in preliminary study involving 21 patients with colchicine resistance, corticosteroid dependence
Findings in preliminary study involving 21 patients with colchicine resistance, corticosteroid dependence

HealthDay News — Use of anakinra reduces the risk of recurrence of pericarditis among patients with recurrent pericarditis with colchicine resistance and corticosteroid dependence, according to a study published in the November 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Antonio Brucato, MD, from the Ospedale Papa Giovanni XXIII in Bergamo, Italy, and colleagues examined the efficacy of anakinra for colchicine-resistant and corticosteroid-dependent recurrent pericarditis. Twenty-one consecutive patients with recurrent pericarditis, elevation of C-reactive protein, colchicine resistance, and corticosteroid dependence were enrolled and received open-label anakinra followed by a double-blind withdrawal step with anakinra or placebo for six months or until recurrence. Patients were followed for a median of 14 months. 

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The researchers found that recurrent pericarditis occurred in 90% of patients assigned to placebo and 18.2% of those assigned to anakinra (incidence rates, 2.06 and 0.11% of patients per year, respectively). The median flare-free survival was 72 days after randomization and was not reached in the placebo and anakinra groups, respectively (P<0.001). Twenty of 21 patients experienced transient local skin reactions during anakinra treatment; one, three, and one, respectively, experienced herpes zoster, transaminase elevation, and ischemic optic neuropathy.

"Larger studies are needed to replicate these findings as well as to assess safety and longer-term efficacy," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to biopharmaceutical companies, including Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB, which provided anakinra and placebo as part of an unrestricted grant.

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