According to MedPage Today, a study out of the University of Nebraska in Omaha finds that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are less likely to discontinue their first biologic, if that treatment is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor rather than a non-TNF biologic, especially if treatment started prior to 2005.

Of study participants who started on an anti-TNF agent, 48 percent discontinued their first biologic at a median time of 4.1 years compared to a median discontinuation time of 3.3 years for patients who started on a second biologic.

However, a study researcher noted, “When analyses were restricted to biologics started in 2005 or later, there was no longer a significant difference between the two treatment options.”

Overall, specific study findings may help provide insight into why patients may stop biologics, but beyond that, it is difficult to gauge what these results indicate. There needs to be more analysis to determine which patients may not respond to specific therapies and who may respond better to a different class of drugs, which can be seen via lower discontinuation rates.

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