Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Tumour necrosis factor inhibitors and anti-interleukin-6 (anti-IL-6) therapies are increasingly being used in Takayasu's arteritis (TA) patients who are unresponsive to corticosteroids ± conventional immunosuppressive agents.The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy and safety of anti-IL-6 (tocilizumab) therapy in refractory TA patients in real life.Materials and methods: Fifteen TA patients (86.7% were female) who received at least 3 cycles of tocilizumab therapy were retrospectively assessed by clinical, laboratory, and radiological evaluations before and after tocilizumab therapy. Results: The median (min-max) age of the patients at evaluation was 35 (20-58) years and the median disease duration from diagnosis was 24 (12-168) months. The median (min.-max.) duration of follow-up after tocilizumab was 15 (3-42) months. There was a significant decrease in erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), and patient global visual analogue scale (VAS) scores of patients after tocilizumab therapy. The median (min.-max.) ESR was 26 (5-119) vs. 3 (2-49) mm/h, P = 0.02; CRP was 39.8 (2.4-149.0) vs. 7.9 (0-92.9) mg/L, P = 0.017; and patient global VAS was 50 (0-90) vs. 30 (0-60), P = 0.027, respectively. In 8 patients, ESR and CRP levels were in the normal range in the last control. Imaging modality results after tocilizumab were available for 9 patients; 8 patients were radiologically stable and regression was seen in 1 patient. Comparable imaging modality results before and after tocilizumab were available for 5 patients; 4 patients were radiologically stable and regression was seen in 1 patient. Radiological findings were consistent with laboratory responses. Glucocorticoid dosages decreased from a mean dosage of 16.2 (9.1) mg/day at baseline to 7.1 (3.8) mg/day (P = 0.001) at the last follow-up visit. There was no increase in the steroid dosage in any of the patients. All patients tolerated tocilizumab well. Conclusion: Based on retrospective real life data, anti-IL-6 (tocilizumab) appears to be an effective and tolerable treatment option in refractory TA patients.

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