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Persistence With Conventional Triple Therapy Versus a Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor and Methotrexate in US Veterans With Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Sauer BC, Teng CC, Tang D, Leng J, Curtis JR, Mikuls TR, Harrison DJ, Cannon GW. Persistence With Conventional Triple Therapy Versus a Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor and Methotrexate in US Veterans With Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis care & research. 2017 Mar 1; 69(3):313-322.

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OBJECTIVE: To compare persistence and adherence to triple therapy with the nonbiologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) methotrexate (MTX), hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine, versus a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) plus MTX in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: Administrative and laboratory data were analyzed for US Veterans with RA initiating triple therapy or TNFi?+?MTX between January 2006 and December 2012. Treatment persistence 365 days postindex was calculated using 3 definitions. Definition 1 required no gap in therapy of = 90 days for any drug in the original combination. Definition 2 required no added or switched DMARD, no decrease to nonbiologic DMARD monotherapy, and no termination of all DMARD therapies. Definition 3 was similar to definition 2 but allowed a switch to another drug within the same class. Adherence used a proportion of days covered of = 80%. Propensity-weighted analysis with matched weights was used to balance covariates. RESULTS: The analysis included 4,364 RA patients (TNFi?+?MTX, n? = 3,204; triple therapy, n? = 1,160). In propensity-weighted analysis, patients in the TNFi?+?MTX group were significantly more likely than patients in the triple therapy group to satisfy all persistence criteria in definition 1 (risk difference [RD] 13.1% [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 9.2-17.0]), definition 2 (RD 6.4% [95% CI 2.3-10.5]), and definition 3 (RD 9.5% [95% CI 5.5-13.6]). Patients in the TNFi?+?MTX group also exhibited higher adherence during the first year (RD 7.2% [95% CI 3.8-10.5]). CONCLUSION: US Veterans with RA were significantly more likely to be persistent and adherent to combination therapy with TNFi?+?MTX than triple therapy with nonbiologic DMARDs.

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