For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, combining one well-known, lower-cost synthetic drug with one of six biologic medications often works best to reduce joint swelling or tenderness, according to a new report by researchers at the RTI International-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Evidence-based Practice Center, which is sponsored by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). An article based on the report, Comparative Effectiveness of Drug Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis in Adults, was posted online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers reviewed published evidence to compare the benefits and harms of three classes of medications: synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), biologic DMARDs and corticosteroids. The report concluded that combining methotrexate, a synthetic DMARD, with one of the biologic DMARDs works better than using methotrexate or a biologic DMARD alone. The report also found that methotrexate works as effectively as the biologic DMARDs adalimumab and etanercept for patients who have early rheumatoid arthritis.
Release date: November 19, 2007
Filed Under: Drug Discovery