Efficacy and safety of belimumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A phase II, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging study

William Stohl, Joan T. Merrill, James D. McKay, Jeffrey R Lisse, Z. John Zhong, William W. Freimuth, Mark C. Genovese

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56 Scopus citations


Objective. To evaluate the efficacy/safety of belimumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods. Patients fulfilling American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for RA for ≥ 1 year who had at least moderate disease activity while receiving stable disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy and failed ≥ 1 DMARD were randomly assigned to placebo or belimumab 1, 4, or 10 mg/kg, administered intravenously on Days 1, 14, and 28, and then every 4 weeks for 24 weeks (n = 283). This was followed by an optional 24-week extension (n = 237) in which all patients received belimumab. Primary efficacy endpoint was the Week 24 ACR20 response. Results. Week 24 ACR20 responses with placebo and belimumab 1, 4, and 10 mg/kg were 15.9%, 34.7% (p = 0.010), 25.4% (p = 0.168), and 28.2% (p = 0.080), respectively. Patients taking any belimumab dose who continued with belimumab in the open-label extension had an ACR20 response of 41% at 48 weeks. A similar ACR20 response (42%) at 48 weeks was seen in patients taking placebo who switched in the extension to belimumab 10 mg/kg. Greater response rates were observed in patients who at baseline were rheumatoid factor-positive, anticitrullinated protein antibody-positive, or tumor necrosis factor inhibitor-naive, or had elevated C-reactive protein levels, Disease Activity Score 28 > 5.1, or low B lymphocyte stimulator levels (< 0.858 ng/ml). Adverse event rates were similar across treatment groups. Conclusion. In this phase II trial, belimumab demonstrated efficacy and was generally well tolerated in patients with RA who had failed previous therapies. [ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00071812]. The Journal of Rheumatology

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-589
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013



  • Autoimmune diseases
  • B lymphocyte stimulator
  • Belimumab
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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