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Report: Enbrel and Humira Are Mainstays for First-Line Biologic Treatment of RA

Over half of Xeljanz-treated RA patients were biologic-naïve at initiation (September 19)

BioTrends Research Group, a research and advisory firm located in Exton, Penn., finds that the majority of patients treated with Enbrel (etanercept, Amgen) or Humira (adalimumab, AbbVie) — significantly more patients than those treated with any other nontraditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) — were biologic-naïve and, therefore, were taking these agents as their first-line biologic treatment.

Although Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate, Pfizer) had been on the market for only about 6 months at the time the study was fielded, nearly 60% of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients currently treated with this drug were biologic-naive prior to initiation, which is in-line with its FDA-approved label. Xeljanz-treated patients who were previously treated with another agent were most commonly switched from Enbrel, Humira, or intravenous (IV) Orencia (abatacept, Bristol-Myers Squibb).

The report also finds that, according to the rheumatologists managing their care, most Xeljanz-treated RA patients in the audit showed good to excellent pain relief, functional status, and quality of life. In addition, 81% of Xeljanz-treated RA patients in the audit experienced partial or complete remission since starting treatment.

“In addition to the positive response that physicians are reporting, nearly three-quarters of Xeljanz-treated patients are showing no signs of progression of structural damage,” said analyst Lynn Price. “This is an important issue for Pfizer, as they are seeking expansion of the Xeljanz RA label to include inhibition of progression of structural damage.”

The report also finds that rheumatologists would consider switching more than half of their patients who are currently treated with IV Actemra (tocilizumab, Genentech) to the subcutaneous formulation of Actemra if it were commercially available. Moreover, physicians would consider switching 22% to 34% of their patients currently treated with IV Orencia and 20% to 25% of their patients who are treated with Rituxan (rituximab, Genentech/Biogen Idec) or Simponi (golimumab, Janssen Biotech) to subcutaneous Actemra, baricitinib (Incyte/Eli Lilly), sarilumab (Sanofi/Regeneron), or sirukumab (GlaxoSmithKline/Janssen Biotech), if these agents were on the market.

The new report is based on patient-audit data collected from 983 charts of biologic- or Xeljanz-treated RA patients provided by 217 U.S. rheumatologists in May–June 2013.

Source: PR Newswire; September 19, 2013.

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