By David Hawk Berlin, Germany—Competition is heating up between the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drugs known as “biologics,” with data for one of the first head-to-head comparisons presented at the 2012 European League Against Rheuma­tism Congress.
By Wayne Kuznar More than 25% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who are started on methotrexate (Trexall, Rheumatrex) alone achieve clinical remission at week 24, and the remission is durable out to 2 years, said James R. O’Dell, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine, Divi­sion of Rheuma­tology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, at the 2011 meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.
Melissa Francisco of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) does not mind taking time after regular working hours to help office managers who are confused about points of compliance with the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).

Biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs have been the cornerstone of therapy for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for more than a decade. Although highly effective, these therapies can be expensive and access to them may be limited for some patients.

The number of total hip replacement (THR) and total knee replacement (TKR) surgeries has declined among patients with a primary diagnosis of rheumatoid arth­ritis (RA) since the introduction of biologic agents.
Elderly patients (aged ≥60 years) with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may be less likely to receive treatment with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors than younger patients with RA because of concerns about comorbidities and adverse events. However, a new study by Soo-Kyung Cho, MD, PhD, Department of Rheumatology, Hanyang University Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues shows that elderly patients who are prescribed these drugs have retention rates comparable to those of younger patients.

The current study reported on updated integrated safety data from 8 randomized trials that further described the safety profile for up to 5.5 years of baricitinib in adult patients with moderately to severely active RA.

Baricitinib, an oral Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor taken once daily, improved signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in patients who were refractory to other treatments, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, or other biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), according to investigators in a placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial reported on recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The efficacy of tocilizumab in combination with methotrexate and as monotherapy was maintained for 2 years in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to an analysis of the results of the FUNCTION trial (Burmester G, et al. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017. Epub ahead of print). No new safety signals associated with tocilizumab were reported with longer- term follow-up of this trial.
There is an association between discontinuation of biologic therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and using a lower number of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or not using concomitant methotrexate.
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