Anakinra in idiopathic recurrent pericarditis refractory to immunosuppressive therapy; a preliminary experience in seven patients

Amir Dagan, Pnina Langevitz, Yehuda Shoenfeld, Ora Shovman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Approximately 5% of idiopathic recurrent pericarditis (IRP)patients are refractory or intolerant to NSAIDs, Colchicine and corticosteroids. The empiric treatment approach for these patients includes immunosuppression with Azathioprine (AZA)or immunomodulation with intravenous human immunoglobulin (IVIG). We assessed the efficacy and safety of long-term Anakinra treatment in refractory IRP patients after failure of prior immunosuppressive therapy and/or failure of IVIG. Methods: Clinical data of seven IRP patients were retrospectively analyzed. Treatment efficacy was determined by decrease of IRP recurrence and by the ability to withdraw or taper corticosteroids without a relapse. Safety was assessed by the occurrence of adverse events. Results: 7 IRP patients (4 male, median age 41)with a median disease duration of 4 years (range: 1.25–9 years)were treated with Anakinra (median treatment duration: 20 months). All patients were resistant or intolerant to NSAIDs, Prednisone, Colchicine and at least one immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory drug such as AZA, Methotrexate, Plaquenil, or IVIG. The median number of recurrences before Anakinra was 6 (range: 4–7)and all patients were corticosteroid-dependent and had steroid-related side effects. After initiation of Anakinra, none of the patients had IRP relapse. Prednisone was tapered down to 5 mg/day or less in all patients. Four patients discontinued prednisone altogether. No significant adverse effects have occurred as a result of Anakinra treatment and all patients continued treatment after the study period. Conclusion: Long-term Anakinra is a rapid-acting, efficient and safe steroid sparing agent even for patients with IRP refractory to previous immunosuppressive and/or immunomodulatory agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-631
Number of pages5
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


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