Benefits of Biologics Outweigh Risks in Rheumatoid Arthritis, Survey Finds
Enbrel (etanercept) received highest ratings (Aug. 30)
BioTrends Research Group, based in Exton, Pa., reported on August 30 that, for surveyed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients receiving biologic therapy, the benefits outweigh the risks for all of the available biologic agents.
According to PatientTrends: Rheumatoid Arthritis (US) 2012, Amgen/Pfizer’s Enbrel (etanercept) received the highest ratings in several categories. The ability to reduce and/or eliminate the symptoms of RA was highly rated for Enbrel, and more than one-half of surveyed RA patients taking Enbrel also reported no side effects.
With the exception of reverse joint damage, biologic therapy seems to address the symptoms of RA, according to surveyed patients. However, patients also view biologics as increasing their chances of catching serious infections and of developing certain types of cancer.
Surveyed RA patients most frequently were taking a conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) plus a tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitor, and conventional DMARD monotherapy. Methotrexate was the conventional DMARD of choice for more than half of the patients. The surveyed patients who were taking methotrexate to treat their RA gave high satisfaction ratings for its ease of use and cost. This was not surprising, since the drug is available in oral form and is generic. RA patients on conventional DMARD therapy reported an upset stomach as the most common side effect; however, the majority of patients did not experience any side effects.
The survey included a total of 260 patients diagnosed with and treated for RA in the U.S.
For more information, visit the BioTrends Web site.