Growth During Tocilizumab Therapy for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

In some cases, chronic inflammation (specifically juvenile idiopathic arthritis) can lead to some growth delays. In a study published in The Journal of Rheumatology, researchers evaluated the growth in patients with polyarticular-course juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pcJIA) treated with tocilizumab. 

In a phase III trial, patients with pcJIA who did not respond well to methotrexate received tocilizumab intravenously every 4 weeks (randomly assigned to 8 or 10 mg/kg if they weighed < 30 kg; received 8 mg/kg if they weighed ≥ 30 kg) for 16 weeks. The study had 188 patients aged 2 to 17 years.  

After the original 16 weeks, those patients who demonstrated JIA American College of Rheumatology 30 responses were given either tocilizumab or placebo for 24 weeks, with an open-label extension through to 2 years.  

According to the results, the mean height SD score (SDS) increased from baseline to year 2 (+0.40, p < 0.0001). In 74 of 103 patients (72%), height SDS was greater than at baseline, and mean height velocity was 6.7 ± 2.0 cm/year. “Among patients with pcJIA at Tanner stage ≤ 3 at baseline, 72% (74/103) had increased height SDS at the end of the study,” the researchers concluded.  

Check out an article on the FDA’s guidance for the treatment of osteoarthritis 

SOURCE: The Journal of Rheumatology; Healio Rheumatology