Background The 2009 RAISE Patient Needs Survey done in Canada, France, Germany and United Kingdom revealed important information about concerns patients have regarding their subcutaneous anti-TNF treatment. Authors concluded that these concerns were surprising and it is important to recognize that they exist among patients in aim to address them through both clinical practice and future innovation of anti-TNF delivery devices.
Objectives The study aimed to find out how much rheumatologists know about everyday life of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients treated with biological therapies. The parameters studied were the convenience or inconvenience of taking biological drugs, the form and frequency of drug taking preferred by patients. Rheumatologists’ and patients’ opinions were then compared.
Methods The questionnaire study was performed with a standardised interview method by trained interviewers. Patients were asked about the problems and complaints which they associated with taking biological drugs (especially pain perceived and associated with drug administration), whether they injected the drug themselves or were helped by a relative or a health professional, what form of drug and the frequency of its consecutive administrations they preferred. Other questions asked whether patients were satisfied with the efficacy and safety of the therapies available now, their needs which biological therapies failed to meet, and a model of an ideal drug in RA biological therapy. Doctors were asked the some questions
Results The survey was completed by 30 rheumatologists who employ biological therapies and 120 patients treated with biological drugs, either subcutaneously (52%) or intravenously (48%). Physicians thought that patients found administering subcutaneous injections easy or very easy, problems with opening a package were rare (in 14%), more common with the use of an applicator (in 43%), and 83% of patients preferred this mode of applying, thus rarely chose intravenous application (3%). Physicians believed 85% of patients administered injections themselves, and they preferred taking medication once a month. Patients reported few substantial problems with package opening (17% did) or operating the applicator (16% did). But they declared being afraid of needles (24%), felt more adverse effects after subcutaneous application (24% vs 10%) – most often pain (17%) or allergic reaction in the injection site (8%). Consequently, in every fourth patient, the injection was administered by another person (usually a nurse). 38% of patients preferred medication being administered subcutaneously, intravenously – 39%, others hardly cared. Drug administration frequency preferred by patients was once a month or more rarely.
Conclusions Servey reveald that physicians’ and patients’ opinions are very different. The authors conclude that patients should decide about how medication is administered.
References McInnes I., Burmester G., Jonas M. et al.: Rheumatoid arthritis: insights, strategies and expectations—patient perceptions of anti-TNF subcutaneous delivery devices in rheumatoid arthritis [AB0302-HP]. Ann Rheum Dis 2010;69 (Suppl3):680
Disclosure of Interest M. Tłustochowicz Grant/research support from: Questionnaire sponsored by MSD Poland, J. Kur-Zalewska: None Declared, W. Tlustochowicz: None Declared