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The Role of Pharmaceutical Innovation in Clinical Practice Guidelines for Chronic Diseases.

BACKGROUND: Over the last 25 years, clinical practice guidelines have emerged as a means to standardize and improve care. As pharmaceutical innovations develop, guidelines are updated to incorporate new interventions. However, the extent to which pharmacotherapies are represented as treatment options in guideline recommendations has not been well elucidated. This study aimed to quantify the role pharmacotherapy has played in clinical practice guidelines across a range of chronic diseases over the past 20 years.

METHODS: Clinical practice guidelines published from 2000 to 2021 were identified for five chronic diseases: ischemic heart disease (IHD), non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Guidelines were reviewed and data on treatment recommendations were collected, including the type of intervention, line of therapy, and, for pharmacotherapies, year of regulatory approval and year of inclusion in guidelines.

RESULTS: In total, 92 clinical practice guidelines were reviewed. Among the 184 discrete recommended interventions across the five disease areas, 146 (79.3%) were pharmacotherapies, 21 (11.4%) were behavioral modifications, 6 (3.3%) were surgical interventions, and 11 (6%) were other interventions. Across guidelines, when a line of therapy was specified, behavioral modifications and pharmacotherapies were most frequently recommended as first-line interventions, whereas surgical interventions were more often recommended for subsequent lines of treatment. The time from regulatory approval of novel pharmacotherapies to inclusion in guideline recommendations varied considerably by disease area and geography.

CONCLUSIONS: Across the reviewed disease areas, behavioral interventions and pharmacotherapies are shown to be critical components of clinical practice. Over the last 20 years, novel pharmaceutical innovations have been incorporated into clinical practice guideline recommendations; however, with varying speeds of adoption. Given the increasing pace of pharmacologic innovation, timely updates of clinical practice guidelines are critical to evolving the standard of care and practicing evidence-based medicine.

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