venous thromboembolism

RA Treatments Have Comparable Risk for VTE

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who take tofacitinib have a comparable risk with those who take tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors for the development of venous thromboembolism (VTE), according to a new study.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers analyzed data on 50,865 participants with RA who were initiating tofacitinib or a TNF inhibitor without prior use of any biologic or tofacitinib.

Of the participants, 34,074 were identified from Truven MarketScan (2012‐2016) and 17,086 through Medicare claims (parts A, B, and D, 2012‐2015). Tofacitinib initiators composed 5.6% of the former group and 5.8% of the latter.

To measure the occurrence of VTE, the researchers used inpatient claims for pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis.

In the Truven group, the crude incidence rates per 100 person-years was 0.60 for tofacitinib and 0.34 for TNF inhibitors. In the Medicare group, the crude incidence rates per 100 person-years was 1.12 for tofacitinib and 0.92 for TNF inhibitors.

The occurrence of VTE in patients initiating tofacitinib or a TNF inhibitor was infrequent. And while the risk for VTE among those taking tofacitinib was numerically higher than among those using a TNF inhibitor, the difference was not statistically significant.

—Colleen Murphy


Desai RJ, Pawar A, Weinblatt ME, Kim SC. Comparative risk of venous thromboembolism with tofacitinib versus tumor necrosis factor inhibitors: a cohort study of rheumatoid arthritis patients [published online December 15, 2018]. Arthritis Rheumatol.