Objective: To investigate the effects of early introduction of biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) on the disease course in untreated polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Methods: We analyzed data on patients with polyarticular JIA participating in the Start Time Optimization of Biologics in Polyarticular JIA (STOP-JIA) study (n = 400) and a comparator cohort (n = 248) from the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance Registry. Latent class trajectory modeling (LCTM) was applied to identify subgroups of patients with distinct disease courses based on disease activity (clinical Juvenile Arthritis Disease Activity Score in 10 joints) over 12 months from baseline. Results: In the STOP-JIA study, 198 subjects (49.5%) received bDMARDs within 3 months of baseline assessment. LCTM analyses generated 3 latent classes representing 3 distinct disease trajectories, characterized by slow, moderate, or rapid disease activity improvement over time. Subjects in the rapid improvement trajectory attained inactive disease within 6 months from baseline. Odds of being in the rapid improvement trajectory versus the slow improvement trajectory were 3.6 times as high (95% confidence interval 1.32–10.0; P = 0.013) for those treated with bDMARDs ≤3 months from baseline compared with subjects who started bDMARDs >3 months after baseline, after adjusting for demographic characteristics, clinical attributes, and baseline disease activity. Shorter disease duration at first rheumatology visit approached statistical significance as a predictor of favorable trajectory without bDMARD treatment. Conclusion: Starting bDMARDs within 3 months of baseline assessment is associated with more rapid achievement of inactive disease in subjects with untreated polyarticular JIA. These results demonstrate the utility of trajectory analysis of disease course as a method for determining treatment efficacy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work could not have been accomplished without the aid of the following organizations: the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) of the NIH, and the Arthritis Foundation. The authors acknowledge and express their appreciation of the valuable input of Brian M. Feldman, MD, MS, in the conception of this study. The authors would also like to thank all participants and hospital sites that recruited patients for the CARRA Registry and the STOP-JIA study.
© 2021, American College of Rheumatology