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First-time prescriptions of biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and axial spondyloarthritis 2002–2011: data from the NOR-DMARD register
  1. Elisabeth Lie1,
  2. Karen M Fagerli1,
  3. Knut Mikkelsen2,
  4. Erik Rødevand3,
  5. Åse Lexberg4,
  6. Synøve Kalstad5,
  7. Till Uhlig1,
  8. Tore K Kvien1
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Lillehammer Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Lillehammer, Norway
  3. 3Department of Rheumatology, St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
  4. 4Department of Rheumatology, Drammen Hospital, Drammen, Norway
  5. 5Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital of Northern Norway, Tromsø, Norway

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Biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARD) have constituted a major advance in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA). In Norway, access to these therapies has been good since their introduction, with full reimbursement and no requirements of disease activity measures above certain cut-offs. With increasing focus on early and aggressive therapy, one could expect increasing prescription of bDMARDs, including use in patients with moderate disease activity. Our objectives were to examine if prescription rates of bDMARDs in RA, PsA and axSpA continue to increase or have reached a plateau, and whether disease activity at initiation of therapy has changed over the years.

Data for these analyses were provided by the NOR-DMARD register, which was established by three Norwegian rheumatology departments in 2000, with two more centres joining in 2002. The register has aimed for longitudinal follow-up of all patients with inflammatory joint diseases starting a new DMARD regimen.1 For the current analyses we included all prescriptions of bDMARDs in previously bDMARD-naive patients with …

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  • Handling editor Hans WJ Bijlsma

  • Contributors Study design: EL, KMF, TKK. Acquisition of data: KM, ER, ÅSL, SK, TKK. Manuscript preparation: EL, KMF, TU, TKK. Approval of final manuscript: EL, KMF, KM, ER, ÅSL, SK, TU, TKK.

  • Funding The Norwegian Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drug study has received unrestricted grant support from Abbott, Amgen, Wyeth/Pfizer, Aventis, MSD, Schering-Plough/Centocor, BristolMyers Squibb, UCB, Roche and the Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs.

  • Competing interests The NOR-DMARD study has been financially supported by pharmaceutical companies but they have not been involved in the analyses or presentation of data. Most of the authors have received speaker and/or consultancy honoraria from companies marketing biologic DMARDs.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the regional ethics committee and by the Data Inspectorate. Patients gave written consent before participation.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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