(HealthDay News) – For patients with long-standing rheumatoid arthritis treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor-α (anti-TNFα) therapies, obesity is related to poor remission rates.

Elisa Gremese, MD, of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, and colleagues conducted a study involving 641 outpatients with long-standing rheumatoid arthritis receiving anti-TNFα blockers (260 treated with adalimumab, 227 with etanercept, and 154 with infliximab) to examine the impact of obesity on remission. Patients were recruited from 2006–2009 and monitored for >12 months.

The researchers found that, at baseline, 10.3% of patients had a body mass index (BMI) >30kg/m², and the disease activity score (DAS28) was 5.6±1.4. After 12 months of anti-TNFα treatment, 15.2% of obese patients had a DAS28 <2.6, compared with 30.4% of patients with a BMI of 25–30kg/m² and 32.9% of patients with a BMI <25kg/m² (P=0.01). Infliximab was associated with the lowest percentage of remission, which was significantly lower than either etanercept or adalimumab.

“Obesity represents a risk factor for a poor remission rate in long-standing rheumatoid arthritis treated with anti-TNFα,” the authors write. “A personalized treatment might be a possible solution.”

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