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Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs Are Underused

Study Shows RA Drugs Known as DMARDs Aren’t Prescribed as Aggressively as They Should

The Importance of DMARDs continued...

Or Schmajuk says, “one health care plan might have one rheumatologist for 5,000 patients versus another that provides one for every 500 patients.”

In some cases there may be medical reasons why RA patients are not taking DMARDs, such as possible interactions of the medications with other drugs. Also, the study suggests co-payments for DMARDs may have an impact on the number of people being prescribed the drugs.

“Given the enormous individual and societal costs associated with RA, and increasing substantial evidence that DMARDs can reduce these costs, variations in DMARD receipt based on demographics, socioeconomic status and geography are unacceptable,” the researchers write. “Because optimizing DMARD use is the primary mechanism for decreasing the significant public health impact of RA in the United States, targeting educational and quality improvement interventions to patients who are under using DMARDs and their clinicians will be important to eliminate these disparities.”

The researchers say people with RA and their health care providers need to be more aware of the benefits of DMARDs.

The study is published in the Feb. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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