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The changing use of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis from the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database

Edwards, C.J., Arden, N.K., Fisher, D., Saperia, J.C., Reading, I., Van Staa, T.P. and Cooper, C. (2005) The changing use of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis from the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database Rheumatology, 44, (11), pp. 1394-1398. (doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kei024).

Record type: Article


Objectives. To describe the use of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and changing trends in their use.
Methods. We used the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) to describe DMARD use by patients with RA identified using ICD-9 codes. The GPRD is a UK national database containing records of more than 7 million individuals from 683 general practices. Subjects were studied between 1987 and 2002. The prevalence and duration of individual DMARD use and changing trends in DMARD use were investigated.
Results. Thirty-four thousand three hundred and sixty-four patients with RA were identified. Only 17 115 (50%) individuals were prescribed at least one DMARD during the study period. The most commonly prescribed DMARD over the study period was sulphasalazine (46.3%) and then methotrexate (31.4%). Use of methotrexate has increased 17-fold (1.8% of all DMARD prescriptions in 1988 to 30% in 2002) whereas use of gold has fallen (13.2% to 2.3%). Analysis of DMARD persistence using Kaplan–Meier survival curves showed the methotrexate use persisted significantly longer than other DMARDs with an estimated median of 8.1 yr. Prednisolone was used in up to 50% of RA patients in any one year and has remained fairly constant throughout the study period.
Conclusions. Large numbers of individuals with a clinical diagnosis of RA identified from a large primary care database are not receiving DMARDs. This work suggests that many individuals with RA have not been treated appropriately and this may have major long-term consequences on joint damage and general health.

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Published date: 2005
Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, dmards, general practice research database


Local EPrints ID: 25441
ISSN: 1462-0324
PURE UUID: f9cdae67-8d39-49f1-aeb1-18dac6aece4a
ORCID for C. Cooper: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 12 Apr 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:10

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Author: C.J. Edwards
Author: N.K. Arden
Author: D. Fisher
Author: J.C. Saperia
Author: I. Reading
Author: T.P. Van Staa
Author: C. Cooper ORCID iD

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