Psoriatic arthritis patients change treatments often

| Melissa Leavitt

Psoriatic arthritis patients often try different drugs before finding the best treatment option, according to the results of a recent study.

Using the Truven Health Analytics MarketScan Research Database, researchers analyzed the treatment patterns of almost 5,000 people with psoriatic arthritis. Results from their study, published last month in Arthritis Research and Therapy, suggest that patients who start on a nonbiologic medication frequently end up switching to a biologic.

Researchers divided patients into two groups: those who started treatment with a category of medications called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, known as DMARDs, and those who started with biologics.

DMARDs, which include traditional oral drugs such as methotrexate and cyclosporine, are often the first line of defense when starting psoriatic arthritis treatment, according to the researchers. If DMARDs do not successfully treat the disease, the researchers explain, treatment guidelines suggest biologics as a next step.

Results from the study largely confirmed this pattern, with many patients changing to a biologic over the course of the year.

Of the 1,698 patients in the study who began treatment with DMARDs, 69 percent changed treatment within a year, researchers report. Almost two-thirds of patients who switched to a different therapy changed to a biologic medication. In addition, 76 percent of patients who added another drug to their original treatment added a biologic.

Among the 3,263 patients who started treatment with a biologic, 46 percent made a therapy change during their first year of treatment, the study found. A quarter of these changed drugs, but most stayed on biologics, with 92 percent of patients who switched treatments changing to a different biologic.

Patients switch drugs for many different reasons, the researchers note, including dissatisfaction with treatment results, issues with side effects or insurance requirements. More studies are needed to further analyze the reasons behind these treatment changes, they conclude.


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For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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