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Use of Biologic Agents Continues to Expand Among US Rheumatologists - Can New Agents Shift the Treatment Paradigm in Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Date:9/17/2008

EXTON, Pa., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- BioTrends Research Group, Inc. released its third annual TreatmentTrends(TM): The Use of Biologic Agents in Rheumatology publication, providing insight into the management of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA), and Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). This report is based on responses to an online survey completed by 100 US Rheumatologists in August 2008.

According to the study, the majority of Rheumatologists reported an increase in their use of biologics for the treatment of RA, PsA, and AS in the past six months. In most cases, biologic agents are being prescribed for RA, however, AS and PsA together account for approximately 20% of the cases for which the Rheumatologists are prescribing biologics. More than half of the respondents expect their use of biologics in RA and PsA to increase in the next six months, and 39% expect their use of these agents for "other" conditions to increase as well.

While the increased use of biologics was seen across the board, certain physician types, particularly those newer to practice, seem to be more aggressive in their use of these agents. Bristol Myers Squibb's Orencia (abatacept) experienced significant share gains in the past year and a higher percent of Rheumatologists report using Orencia this year compared to last. Despite these gains, the TNF-alpha antagonists (Amgen/Wyeth's Enbrel, Abbott's Humira, and Cenotcor's Remicade) still collectively account for more than 80% of the biologic share in RA. While all of the biologics are negatively impacted by out of pocket costs to patients, a top obstacle to expanded Orencia use is its second/third line status ("patients do well on the first line choice") and the top obstacles to expanded Rituxan use are centered around safety and tolerability concerns. Safety concerns with Rituxan may continue with the recent news of the first fatal case of PML in a patient taking Rituxan for RA. Most respondents indicated that O
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SOURCE BioTrends Research Group, Inc.
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