Glucocorticoid Doses and Acute-Phase Reactants at Giant Cell Arteritis Flare in a Randomized Trial of Tocilizumab

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Stone JH, Tuckwell K, Dimonaco S, Klearman M, Aringer M, Blockmans D, Brouwer E, Cid MC, Dasgupta B, Rech J, Salvarani C, Schulze-Koops H, Schett G, Spiera R, Unizony SH, Collinson N
Journal: Arthritis and Rheumatology
Publication year: 2019
ISSN: 2326-5191
eISSN: 2326-5205


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate glucocorticoid doses and serological findings in patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA) flares.
METHODS: Patients with GCA were randomly assigned to receive double-blind dosing with subcutaneous tocilizumab (TCZ) 162 mg weekly plus 26-week prednisone (TCZ-QW+Pred-26), every-other-week TCZ plus 26-week prednisone (TCZ-Q2W+Pred-26), placebo plus 26-week prednisone (PBO+Pred-26), or placebo plus 52-week prednisone (PBO+Pred-52). Outcomes were prednisone dose, C-reactive protein (CRP) level, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) at the time of flare and remission during 52 weeks.
RESULTS: One hundred patients received TCZ-QW+Pred-26, 49 received TCZ-Q2W+Pred-26, 50 received PBO+Pred-26, and 51 received PBO+Pred-52. Among 149 TCZ-treated patients, 36 (24%) experienced flare, 23 (64%) of whom were still receiving prednisone (median dose, 2.0 mg/day). Among 101 PBO+Pred-treated patients, 59 (58%) experienced flare, 45 (76%) of whom were receiving prednisone (median dose, 5.0 mg/day). Many flares occurred while patients were taking more than 10 mg/day prednisone: 9 (25%) in the TCZ groups and 13 (22.0%) in the placebo groups. Thirty-three flares (92%) in TCZ-treated groups and 20 (34%) in PBO+Pred-treated groups occurred with normal CRP. More than half the PBO+Pred-treated patients had elevated CRP without flare. Benefits of the combination of TCZ plus prednisone over prednisone alone for remission induction were apparent by 8 weeks.
CONCLUSION: Most GCA flares occurred while patients were still receiving prednisone. Acute-phase reactants were not reliable indicators of flare in patients treated with TCZ plus prednisone or with prednisone alone. The addition of TCZ to prednisone facilitates earlier GCA control. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Medizinische Klinik 3 - Rheumatologie und Immunologie
Schett, Georg Prof. Dr. med.
Lehrstuhl für Innere Medizin III

External institutions with authors

Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale die Reggio Emilia
Genentech Inc.
Hospital Clínic de Barcelona
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS)
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU)
Massachusetts General Hospital
National Health Service (NHS)
Roche Products Limited and Roche Diagnostics Limited
Technische Universität Dresden
University Hospital Leuven (UZ) / Universitaire ziekenhuizen Leuven
University of Groningen / Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

How to cite

Stone, J.H., Tuckwell, K., Dimonaco, S., Klearman, M., Aringer, M., Blockmans, D.,... Collinson, N. (2019). Glucocorticoid Doses and Acute-Phase Reactants at Giant Cell Arteritis Flare in a Randomized Trial of Tocilizumab. Arthritis and Rheumatology.

Stone, John H., et al. "Glucocorticoid Doses and Acute-Phase Reactants at Giant Cell Arteritis Flare in a Randomized Trial of Tocilizumab." Arthritis and Rheumatology (2019).


Last updated on 2019-29-07 at 13:23