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Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drug Initiation Among Patients Newly Diagnosed With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Machaon Bonafede, PhD, MPH; Barbara H. Johnson, MBA; Neel Shah, PhD, BPharm; David J. Harrison, PhD; Derek Tang, PhD, BSPharm; and Bradley S. Stolshek, PharmD
Only slightly more than half of patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis initiated therapy within 1 year.
ABSTRACT

Objectives: To determine the rate of timely disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) initiation in patients newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as recommended per a quality measure endorsed by the National Quality Forum.

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of claims data from the Truven Health MarketScan commercial and Medicare claims databases.

Methods: Patients newly diagnosed with RA were identified in the claims databases. Outcomes included rate of nonbiologic or biologic DMARD initiation within 12 months of diagnosis; initiation by year (2009-2012), US state, and prescription drug plan; and time to initiation. Multivariate modeling was performed to identify factors associated with initiation or noninitiation.

Results: Of 40,040 newly diagnosed patients, 55.5% initiated RA therapy within 12 months, including 21,154 (52.8%) initiating DMARD therapy and 1051 (2.6%) initiating biologic DMARD therapy. Rates were similar for years 2009 (53.3%), 2010 (55.7%), 2011 (56.3%), and 2012 (56.8%), but they varied widely by US state (range, 33.3%-88.0%) and prescription plan (range, 42.6%-63.5% across 8 largest plans). Mean (SD) time to initiation of any RA therapy was 39 (65) days. Predictors of initiation included point-of-service (odds ratio [OR], 1.18) and consumer-driven/high-deductible (OR, 1.19) plans, comorbid psoriasis (OR, 1.30) or diabetes (OR, 1.17), rheumatoid factor test (OR, 3.02), and diagnosis by a rheumatologist (OR, 3.17). Predictors of noninitiation included female sex (OR, 0.94), preferred provider organization plan (OR, 0.87), higher comorbidity score (OR, 0.94), select comorbidities (OR range, 0.65-0.92), and number of prescriptions for any cause (OR, 0.98).

Conclusions: Only slightly more than half of patients initiated RA therapy within 12 months of diagnosis in this commercially insured population.

Am J Manag Care. 2018;24(Spec Issue No. 8):SP279-SP285

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