Tapering biologics associated with worsening QoL
medwireNews: Patients with inflammatory arthritis may experience a reduction in quality of life (QoL) if they reduce or stop biologic DMARD treatment, Taiwanese researchers report.
Although biologic therapies improve symptoms and QoL, they are associated with adverse events and high cost, meaning that “[f]or patients who achieve remission/low disease activity, a reduction in dose/frequency or discontinuation of [biologic] DMARDs has emerged as an important treatment strategy,” explain Chang-Youh Tsai (Taipei Veterans General Hospital) and study co-authors.
The team analyzed questionnaire data from 330 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 120 patients with ankylosing spondylitis, of whom 53.0% and 24.2%, respectively, reduced or stopped their biologic treatment.
Patients in both disease groups experienced significant worsening in short-form 36 and Global Quality of Life scores after tapering treatment, and those who had been treated with biologics for up to 3 years experienced significantly greater worsening in QoL scores after biologic tapering than patients who had been treated for a longer period of time.
Tsai and colleagues caution, however, that other factors that may have influenced the relationship between treatment tapering and QoL “were not analyzed due to the small sample size.”
And they conclude in Clinical Rheumatology: “A tapering strategy is not recommended, especially in patients with a shorter duration of [biologic] DMARD treatment.”
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