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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate (i) the association between random certolizumab drug levels, antidrug antibodies (ADAbs) and treatment response in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA); (ii) longitudinal factors associated with ADAbs and certolizumab drug levels. METHODS: This prospective cohort included 115 patients with RA treated with certolizumab. Serum samples were collected at 3, 6 and 12 months following treatment initiation. Drug levels and ADAbs were measured using ELISA and radioimmunoassay, respectively, at 3, 6 and 12 months. Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) were measured at each visit and 12 months European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response was calculated. Patient self-reported adherence was collected longitudinally. Ordinal logistic regression and generalised estimating equation were used to test the association: (i) between drug levels, from serum sampled and treatment response; (ii) between ADAbs and drug levels; (iii) patient-centred factors and drug levels. RESULTS: ADAbs were detected in 37% (42/112 patients by 12 months). The presence of ADAbs were significantly associated with lower drug levels over 12 months (β=-0.037, 95% CI -0.055 to 0.018, p<0.0001) but not independently with 12 months EULAR response (β=0.0013 (95% CI -0.0032 to 0.00061), p=0.18). Drug level was associated with 12 months EULAR response (β=0.032 (95% CI 0.0011 to 0.063), p=0.042). In the multivariate model, ADAb level and adherence were significantly associated with drug concentrations. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to demonstrate that higher certolizumab drug levels are associated with better 12 months EULAR response. ADAbs in certolizumab-treated patients with RA were detected at higher levels than previous studies and help determine the aetiology of a low drug level.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Rheum Dis

Publication Date





208 - 213


Anti-TNF, DMARDs (biologic), Rheumatoid Arthritis, TNF-alpha, Treatment, Adult, Aged, Antibodies, Antirheumatic Agents, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Certolizumab Pegol, Cohort Studies, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Severity of Illness Index, Treatment Outcome