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Rheumatoid arthritis patients not taking their medications as prescribed
Date:5/30/2013

A new study conducted in an ethnically diverse and predominantly low income population found that only one-fifth of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients had an overall adherence rate to prescribed oral medications at 80% or greater. Findings published today in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), indicate that less than two thirds of medication regimens for non-biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) were correctly followed by RA patients.

According to ACR estimates, more than one million U.S. adults experience inflammation, pain, tenderness and swelling of the joints caused by RA. While there have been advances in RA treatmentsbiologic therapies such as the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), and infliximab (Remicade)oral DMARDS, namely methotrexate, remain the gold standard for treating those with RA. In fact, previous research has shown that biologics are more effective when taken with methotrexate, but patients must follow the prescribed medicine regimens to realize the full benefits.

For the present study, Drs. Christian Waimann, Maria Suarez-Almazor and colleagues from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston enrolled 107 RA patients in a two-year study that electronically monitored their intake of oral RA medications. Measures of DMARD adherence were:

  • Doses taken as prescribed: Percentage of days or weeks for methotrexate or prednisone in which the patient took the correct dose as prescribed
  • Underdosing: Percentage of days or weeks in which the patient took fewer doses than prescribed
  • Overdosing: Percentage of days or weeks that the patient took more doses than prescribed

Of those who participated, 87% were female with a mean disease activity of 8 years. The RA patient group was ethnically diverse with 65% Hispanic, 19% African-American and 16% Caucasian. Educatio
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Contact: Dawn Peters
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley
Source:Eurekalert

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