New Flaws Found in Rheumatoid Arthritis Care

A recent study has indicated many RA patients don't adhere to their prescribed anti-TNF therapies.

New Flaws Found in Rheumatoid Arthritis Care

By Rheumatoid Connect StaffA Published at September 30, 2014 Views 2,142

According to the University Herald, a new study has indicated that a large contingent of people with rheumatoid arthritis fail to take their medication as it is prescribed to them. While this behavior certainly translates into a number of negative outcomes for those individuals (a potentially worse prognosis, inconsistent treatment plans, pain, etc.), the study may have the power to reveal some of the causes of these actions.

The study

Published in the journal Rheumatology, the study took place at the University of Manchester, where researchers analyzed the data of nearly 300 individuals with established cases of rheumatoid arthritis. These patients attended 60 different clinics across the United Kingdom for treatment during the course of the study, and each of them had lived with rheumatoid arthritis for at least seven years when the study began.

Each of the participants in this study was prescribed varying forms of anti-tumor necrosis factor, or anti-TNF therapies. These types of biological treatments involve taking medication that blocks the tumor necrosis pathway during the event of joint inflammation in the body, which has been shown over time to reduce the pain, swelling and limited mobility associated with the disease, according to U.S. News & World Report.


The study ultimately found that 27 percent of participants indicated non-adherence to their respective prescribed biological therapies within the first six months of the study. It's worth noting that the study relied on self-reported data from the participants. This means that the number of those not adhering to their medication plan could be even higher if false responses were recorded.

Perhaps the most important lurking variable in this study is the patients' motivation behind the non-adherence to their biological treatment plans. It could be a personal preference, a desire to avoid potential unpleasant side effects of the medication, or something far more obvious. According to the University Herald, Anti-TNF treatments cost RA patients between about $13,300 and $20,000 annually.


Whatever the case may be, not taking their medication may pose considerable risks for RA patients. Dr. Kimme Hyrich, a consultant in rheumatology at Manchester Royal Infirmary and the lead author of the study, furthered this sentiment in speaking to the University Herald.

"If patients do not take their medication as prescribed it is likely to have a significant effect on whether they respond to therapy and could mean that their condition deteriorates more quickly, affecting their quality of life," said Hyrich. "Non-adherence is also a waste of scarce healthcare resources and something that needs to be addressed."

Regardless of whether the cause of this non-adherence to prescribed anti-TNF biological therapy is cost, preference or potential side effects, it can safely be said that such behaviors are detrimental to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

To learn more about RA treatments:

The Future of RA Treatment
Medications to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
New Intravenous RA Drug

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