More than half of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were treated with a biologic discontinued treatment, and another 12% switched to at least 1 other biologic within a 2-year treatment period, according to a study led by Chureen Carter, PharmD, of Centocor Ortho Biotech Services.
The study included 1794 patients who were treated with biologics; 77% of the patients were women. Results showed that 1168 patients either switched treatment or discontinued treatment.1 On average, the first switch from a biologic occurred after 269 days of treatment and discontinuation occurred after 197 days of treatment. A rheumatologist prescribed more than 80% of these first switches. Of the 222 patients who switched biologics at least once, 71 switched a second time and 15 switched a third time. “Further studies are needed to investigate the reasons for biologic switching and discontinuation and the consequent impact on clinical and economic outcomes,” concluded the authors.
1. Carter CT, Tang B, Buysman E, Piech CT. Two-year longitudinal study of biologic switching and discontinuation among rheumatoid arthritis patients in a health plan. Presented at: Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy 22nd Annual Meeting and Showcase; April 9-10, 2010; San Diego.