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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