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Rabbit risk score can help rheumatologists identify patients at high risk of infection

New study validates score as new tool

Results of a study presented today at EULAR 2012, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, suggest that the newly developed RABBIT Risk Score, which calculates the risk of serious infections in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who are treated with anti-tumour necrosis factor drugs (anti-TNFs) or conventional disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) is a valid and effective tool for rheumatologists to predict risk of serious infection.

The German study used data from 2,603 patients enrolled in the RABBIT register at the start of treatment with anti-TNFs (n=1,327) or conventional DMARDs (n=1,276). The likelihood of serious infection based on individual risk profiles was calculated using the RABBIT risk score. The score was developed by the same group of researchers on a different patient sample.

There was good agreement between observed and expected rates of serious infections. In the anti-TNF group, expected number of infections was 31.5 versus actual number observed which was 33. For conventional DMARDs, the expected number of infections was 14.8 versus the actual number observed which was 13.

"The results of our study validate the RABBIT Risk Score as a useful tool to help identify RA patients at high risk of developing infections when treated with anti-TNFs or DMARDs," said Professor Angela Zink from the German Rheumatism Research Centre in Berlin, Germany. "This tool could help rheumatologists identify at-risk patients and avoid treatment combinations that have a higher risk of infectious complications. This could also help reducing costs associated with treating the infections."

In patients who had ¡Ý1 risk factor, including chronic lung disease, chronic renal disease, and age above 60 years, the RABBIT Risk Score also successfully predicted infection (10.0 expected vs 9.0 observed in DMARD group, 6.4 expected vs 6 observed in anti-TNF group).

Abstract Number: OP0144

* Strangfeld et al, Ann Rheum Dis. 2011;70(11):1914-20

For further information on this study, or to request an interview with the study lead, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress Press Office in Hall 6 on the 3rd floor of the Congress Centre during EULAR 2012 or on:


Candice Debleu:
Onsite tel: +44 7894 386 425
The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is the organisation which represents the patient, health professional and scientific societies of rheumatology of all the European nations

In line with The European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS), EULAR defines rheumatology as including rheumatic diseases of the connective tissue, locomotor and musculoskeletal systems

EULAR aims to promote, stimulate and support the research, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of rheumatic diseases. With 45 scientific member societies, 36 PARE organisations and 10 health professionals associations, EULAR underscores the importance of combating rheumatic diseases not only by medical means, but also through a wider context of care for rheumatic patients and a thorough understanding of their social and other needs

Diseases of the bone and joints such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis cause disability in 4-5% of the adult population and are predicted to rise as people live longer

EULAR 2012 is set to be the biggest rheumatology event in Europe with over 15,000 scientists, physicians, allied health professionals, and related audiences in attendance from over 115 countries. Over the course of the congress, more than 275 oral and 1400 poster abstract presentations will be featured, with 1,010 invited speaker lectures taking place in 190 sessions

To find out more about the activities of EULAR, visit:

Candice Debleu | EurekAlert!
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