Tofacitinib persistence in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A retrospective cohort study

Anat Fisher*, Marie Hudson, Robert W. Platt, Colin R. Dormuth, Canadian Network of Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


Objective. To compare medication persistence of tofacitinib with persistence of injectable biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARD) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 

Methods. We performed a retrospective new-user cohort study of patients with RA in the IBM MarketScan Research Databases. New users of tofacitinib or bDMARD were identified between November 2012 and December 2016. Persistence, in number of years, was the time between treatment initiation and the earliest occurrence of discontinuation or switching from the medication prescribed at cohort entry. Persistence of tofacitinib was compared with bDMARD persistence using Cox proportional hazards regression with adjustment for high-dimensional propensity scores. Similar methods were used for an analysis of post first-line therapy in patients who switched to tofacitinib from a bDMARD. 

Results. New tofacitinib users (n = 1031) were 56 years of age, on average, and 82% were women. New bDMARD users (n = 17,803) were 53 years of age, on average, and 78% were women. New tofacitinib users had shorter medication persistence (median 0.81 yrs) compared to bDMARD patients (1.02 yrs). After adjustment, the HR for discontinuation of tofacitinib compared with bDMARD was 1.14 (95% CI 1.05-1.25). Patients who switched to tofacitinib from a bDMARD had longer persistence than patients who switched to a bDMARD (adjusted HR for discontinuation 0.90, 95% CI 0.83-0.97). 

Conclusion. Further research is warranted to understand the reasons for discontinuation of tofacitinib despite its ease of administration and to understand the observed differences between switchers and new users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


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