Recurrent pericarditis is a debilitating condition that can be recalcitrant to conventional therapy with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, colchicine, and glucocorticoids. The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic role of the recombinant interleukin-1 receptor antagonist anakinra in a series of adult patients with recurrent pericarditis refractory to conventional therapy. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 13 consecutive patients with treatment-refractory recurrent pericarditis who received anakinra for management of their disease. None of the patients had an identified systemic inflammatory rheumatic disease. The primary end points were symptom resolution and glucocorticoid discontinuation. Thirteen patients (10 women) treated with anakinra were followed for a median (range) of 16.8 months (1.3 to 24). All patients had chest pain. Total duration of symptoms before initiation of anakinra was 3 years (1.1 to 6.0). Pericardial thickening was detected by echocardiography in 9 patients (69%). All 13 patients (100%) experienced at least a partial and, most, a complete resolution of symptoms. Response to therapy was rapid, within 2 to 5 days. At last follow-up, 11 patients (84%) had successfully discontinued concomitant nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent, colchicine, and glucocorticoid therapy; 11 patients remained on anakinra at the end of the follow-up period. The only side effect was transient injection site reaction in 4 patients (31%). In conclusion, anakinra may be an effective alternative agent for the management of glucocorticoid-dependent recurrent pericarditis. Side effects were minor. A formal clinical trial to evaluate the usefulness of this agent should be considered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine