Treatment choices of paediatric rheumatologists for juvenile idiopathic arthritis: etanercept or adalimumab?

Janneke Anink*, Marieke H. Otten, Simone L. Gorter, Femke H. M. Prince, Marion A. J. van Rossum, J. Merlijn van den Berg, Philomine A. van Pelt, Sylvia Kamphuis, Danielle M. C. Brinkman, Wijnand A. A. Swen, Joost F. Swart, Nico M. Wulffraat, Koert M. Dolman, Yvonne Koopman-Keemink, Esther P. A. H. Hoppenreijs, Wineke Armbrust, Rebecca ten Cate, Lisette W. A. van Suijlekom-Smit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objectives. To evaluate differences in baseline characteristics between etanercept-and adalimumab-treated JIA patients and to reveal factors that influence the choice between these TNF inhibitors, which are considered equally effective in the recent ACR recommendations for JIA treatment. Methods. Biologic-naive JIA patients with active arthritis who started treatment with adalimumab or etanercept between March 2008 and December 2011 were selected from the Dutch Arthritis and Biologicals in Children register. Baseline characteristics were compared. Focus group interviews with paediatric rheumatologists were performed to evaluate factors determining treatment choices. Results. A total of 193 patients started treatment with etanercept and 21 with adalimumab. Adalimumab-treated patients had longer disease duration prior to the start of biologics (median 5.7 vs 2.0 years) and more often a history of uveitis (71% vs 4%). Etanercept-treated patients had more disability at baseline (median Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire score 1.1 vs 0.4) and more active arthritis (median number of active joints 6 vs 4). The presence of uveitis was the most important factor directing the choice towards adalimumab. Factors specific for the paediatric population-such as painful adalimumab injections-as well as the physician's familiarity with the drug accounted for the preference for etanercept. Conclusion. Although the two TNF inhibitors are considered equally effective, in daily practice etanercept is most often prescribed; adalimumab is mainly preferred when uveitis is present. In choosing the most suitable biologic treatment, paediatric rheumatologists take into account drug and patient factors, considering newly published data and cautiously implementing this into daily care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1674-1679
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • TNF-alpha inhibitors
  • qualitative research
  • decision making

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