JOURNAL ARTICLE

Treatment persistence among patients with rheumatoid disease (RA, AS, PsA) treated with subcutaneous biologics in Germany

Ramon Lyu, Marinella Govoni, Qian Ding, Christopher M Black, Sumesh Kachroo, Tao Fan, Augstina Ogbonnaya, Prina Donga, Jerrold Hill, Charles Makin
Rheumatology International 2016, 36 (1): 143-53
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Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are frequently treated with subcutaneous biologic therapies when disease progresses or when response to synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) is inadequate. This study analyzed treatment persistence and treatment patterns for RA, AS, and PsA patients in Germany initiating subcutaneous biologic therapies with and without prior DMARDs use. A retrospective cohort study was conducted using the Electronic Medical Record database of IMS Disease Analyzer, Germany. Patients who were ≥18 years old; had at least one ICD-10 diagnosis code of RA, AS, or PsA during the study period; and had exposure to a subcutaneous biologic agent between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2012 were selected. Patients were required to have continuous observation ≥12 months prior to and after index medication date. Persistence was defined as consecutive days from treatment initiation until treatment discontinuation (≥60-day lapse in medication coverage). Patients were stratified by pre-index use of DMARDs. Kaplan-Meier analysis was conducted to assess time to discontinuation, and logistic regression was conducted to identify characteristics associated with persistence. A total of 576 RA, 108 AS, and 197 PsA patients without biologic experience during the pre-index period were selected. The percentages of RA, AS, and PsA patients persistent ≥12 months were 51.9, 48.1, and 57.9 %, respectively. Median persistent time over 12 months was 365.0 days for RA (mean 245.9 days), 281.0 for AS (mean 228.5), and 365.0 for PsA (mean 264.1). In the RA cohort, a significantly higher proportion of those with pre-index DMARD use were persistent compared to those without pre-index DMARD (56.1 vs. 33.3 %, p = 0.0001). No significant differences were observed for the AS and PsA cohorts. Multivariate analyses confirmed that DMARD-experienced patients were 2.45 times more likely to be persistent with subcutaneous biologic therapy in the RA cohort. Switching between subcutaneous biologics occurred in <10 % of patients in all three cohorts. In the subpopulations with at least two prescriptions for the index subcutaneous biologic and who remained persistent on the index subcutaneous biologic, dose escalation of ≥50 % occurred in 50, 60, and 49 % in the RA, AS, and PsA cohorts, respectively. Among RA, AS, and PsA patients newly initiating subcutaneous biologic agents in Germany, persistence at 12 months is relatively low (48-58 %). For the RA cohort, patients with pre-index DMARD use are more persistent than patients without. The majority of patients do not switch between subcutaneous biologics. A notable proportion of patients who remained persistent on their index subcutaneous biologic had a dose escalation. There are opportunities to improve outcomes of patient with rheumatoid disease through improved medication persistence.

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