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Survey: Rheumatologists Concerned With Risks of Infection and Malignancy With Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)

Most patients receive second-line treatment after anti-TNF therapy (Mar. 25)

BioTrends Research Group, a research and advisory firm based in Exton, Pa., finds that, after approximately 2 months on the market, 37% of U.S. rheumatologists have prescribed tofacitinib (Xeljanz, Pfizer) in an average of three of their rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. However, nearly 10% of the surveyed rheumatologists do not plan on using tofacitinib until it has been on the market for at least 1 year, and an additional 4% claimed they will never use the drug, primarily because of its safety profile.

When asked to consider the safety issues associated with using tofacitinib for the treatment of RA, surveyed rheumatologists were most concerned about the limited post-marketing experience with the drug and the risk of serious infections and cancer.

“Most patients initiated on Xeljanz at this point will have been previously treated with at least one anti-TNF agent and showed a poor response prior to initiation of Xeljanz,” said analyst Lynn Price. “However, the oral delivery could allow for increased use among biologic-naïve patients, particularly those who are adverse to parenteral administration.”

The new report also finds that most tofacitinib users believe it is too early to assess their satisfaction with the product. However, 20% stated that they were highly satisfied with the drug. Physicians who cited high satisfaction with tofacitinib did so mainly because they had received initial positive feedback from patients, with reports of no or few side effects.

Source: BioTrends Research Group; March 25, 2013.

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