The Use of Cyclosporine A in Rheumatology: a 2016 Comprehensive Review.
The opportunity to induce remission/low disease activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients has been achieved in recent years by the adoption of more sensitive diagnostic methods [Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), ultrasonography] and early aggressive treatments (combination of biologics and synthetic DMARDs). On the other hand, data are still scarce and contrasting about the management of long-term remission. The aim of this preliminary study is to evaluate whether the association of Methotrexate + Ciclosporine A (MTX + CSA) therapy in early RA (eRA) patients is able to maintain remission/low disease activity and avoid structural progression, evaluated by MRI. Etanercept was suspended in patients who reached remission/low disease activity and CSA+MTX therapy was introduced (T0), all patients continued to receive MTX; at this time MRI showed mild/moderate synovitis and erosions in all the patients; 1-year after (T1), a slight reduction in mean synovitis, bone edema and total score was observed, whereas the erosion score was unchanged. The mean DAS44 remained stable from T0 to T1 and 6/7 patients maintained a low disease activity score. No side effects were reported. These results confirm the good clinical efficacy and safety of the combination therapy CSA+MTX in eRA patients and demonstrate a parallel arrest of structural damage evaluated by MRI 1-year after etanercept suspension.