The role of biologics in the treatment of giant cell arteritis
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AuthorGonzález-Gay Mantecón, Miguel Ángel; Pina Murcia, Trinitario; Prieto Peña, Diana; Calderón Goercke, Mónica; Blanco Alonso, Ricardo; Castañeda Sanz, Santos
Introduction: Giant cell arteritis is a vasculitis of large and middle-sized arteries that affects individuals older than 50 years. Although glucocorticoids remain the mainstay in the treatment of this vasculitis, other drugs are often required to achieve clinical remission and allow glucocorticoid discontinuation.
Areas covered: The review summarizes the main biologic therapies used for the managements of GCA.
Expert commentary: Although several biologic agents have been used in patients with GCA, the only biologic agent currently approved for this purpose is the recombinant humanized anti-IL-6 receptor antibody: tocilizumab. It has demonstrated efficacy to improve clinical symptoms, decrease the cumulative prednisone dose and reduce the frequency of relapses in clinical trials and real-life studies on patients with GCA. A trial showed that abatacept may be useful to maintain remission in GCA patients. An openlabel study suggested that ustekinumab could be useful for the treatment of patients with refractory GCA. However, further studies are required to confirm if both abatacept and ustekinumab are useful as an adjunctive therapy to reduce relapses or as a glucocorticoid sparing agent in GCA. Anakinra has been successfully used in a few patients with refractory GCA. In contrast, anti-tumor necrosis factor- α therapy yielded disappointing results in GCA.