Preferences of patients and health professionals for route and frequency of administration of biologic agents in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
Tuan Khai Huynh,1,2 Ann Østergaard,3 Charlotte Egsmose,3 Ole Rintek Madsen3
1Department of Rheumatology, Copenhagen University Hospital Frederiksberg, Frederiksberg, Denmark; 2Department of Rheumatology, Copenhagen University Hospital Hillerød, Hillerød, Denmark; 3Department of Rheumatology/C, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Hellerup, Denmark
Objectives: To examine the preferences of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and health professionals (HPs) for the route and frequency of administration of biologic drugs.
Methods: One hundred and seven RA patients treated with biological agents for intravenous or subcutaneous use, 35 biologic-naïve RA patients treated with a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug and 30 rheumatology HPs (physicians and nurses) were recruited from two outpatient clinics in Copenhagen, Denmark. All subjects filled out a questionnaire interrogating their choice of preferred route and frequency of administration of a biologic corresponding to current available options, given that effects, adverse effects, and financial costs were identical for the different choices. The subjects were also asked to justify their preferences. The chi-square goodness-of-fit test was used to examine the distributions over different preferences. Proportions were compared using Fisher's exact test.
Results: Forty-one patients were currently treated with subcutaneous self-injections at home (SCH) and 66 intravenously at the clinic (IVC). IVC was preferred by 85% of patients currently treated with IVC (P<0.0001). SCH was preferred by 71% of patients currently treated with SCH (P<0.001), by 77% of the biologic-naïve patients (P<0.01), and by 87% of HPs (P<0.0001). The proportion of patients favoring SCH was significantly higher for patients currently receiving SCH and for biologic-naïve RA patients than for those currently on IVC (P<0.0001). SCH once a month and IVC every 8 weeks were the most appealing treatment frequencies (P<0.01). The most frequent reason among patients for choosing IVC or SCH was a wish for safety, and a wish to minimize the time of transportation and treatment, respectively.
Conclusion: The majority of RA patients treated with biologics preferred their current route of administration. Most patients, those inexperienced with biologics, and HPs favored SCH. Low treatment frequencies were generally preferred.
Keyword: biologic treatment, infusion, rheumatology, subcutaneous injection
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