Back to Journals » Patient Preference and Adherence » Volume 9

Reasons for discontinuation of subcutaneous biologic therapy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a patient perspective

Authors Bolge S, Goren A, Tandon N

Received 9 July 2014

Accepted for publication 26 August 2014

Published 20 January 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 121—131


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Susan C Bolge,1 Amir Goren,2 Neeta Tandon1

1Health Economics and Outcomes Research, Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC, Horsham, PA, USA; 2Health Outcomes Practice, Kantar Health, New York, NY, USA

Objective: To examine reasons why rheumatoid arthritis patients discontinued subcutaneous (SQ) anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) treatment in the past 12 months, so as to help inform successful, uninterrupted therapy.
Methods: Data were collected in March and April 2011 using self-reported, internet-based questionnaires. Study inclusion criteria comprised: rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis; discontinuation of SQ anti-TNF medication (adalimumab, certolizumab, etanercept, or golimumab) within the past 12 months; aged ≥18 years; United States residency; and consent to participate. Patients reported primary and other reasons for discontinuation of their most recently discontinued anti-TNF.
Results: Questionnaires from 250 patients were analyzed; 72.8% were female, 80.8% were white, and median age was 51 years. Patients had discontinued etanercept (n=109), adalimumab (n=98), certolizumab (n=24), or golimumab (n=19) within the past 12 months. When prompted about their primary reason for discontinuation, lack of effectiveness (40.8%) was cited most often, followed by injection experience (18.4%). Combining prompted primary and other reasons for discontinuation, 60.8% of patients reported lack of effectiveness, while 40.8% reported injection experience, which included: pain/burning/discomfort after injection (14.4%); pain/burning/discomfort during injection (13.2%); injection reactions such as redness/swelling after injection (12.4%); dislike of self-injection (11.6%); dislike of frequency of injection (10.4%); and fear of injection/needles (6.8%).
Conclusion: From the patient perspective, there are unmet needs with regard to the effectiveness and injection experience associated with SQ anti-TNF medications, which may lead to discontinuation. Treatment options with a better injection experience may address these needs. These results demonstrate the importance of including the patient perspective when making prescribing decisions or payer access and coverage decisions.

Keywords: persistence, subcutaneous injection, anti-TNF

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]