The American College of Rheumatology and the National Psoriasis Foundation have released a joint treatment guideline for psoriatic arthritis that, for the first time, includes a conditional recommendation to use tumor necrosis factor–inhibitor(TNFi) biologics over methotrexate and other oral small molecules as a first-line therapy in patients with active disease.
“The available low-quality evidence is inconclusive regarding the efficacy of OSMs [oral small molecules] in management of PsA, whereas there is moderate-quality evidence of the benefits of TNFi biologics, in particular regarding their impact on the prevention of disease progression and joint damage,” wrote the panel of authors, who were led by, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “In making their recommendation, the panel recognized the cost implications, but put considerations of quality of evidence for benefit over other considerations. This guideline provides recommendations for early and aggressive therapy in patients with newly diagnosed PsA.”
The 28-page guideline, published online Nov. 30 in theand also in and Arthritis & Rheumatology, is the first set of PsA-specific recommendations to be assembled using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology that the ACR has used for RA and other conditions. GRADE uses systematic reviews of the scientific literature available to evaluate and grade the quality of evidence in a particular domain. The evidence reviews are then used to create guideline recommendations for or against particular therapy options that range from strong to conditional, depending on the quality of evidence available.
Based on the GRADE methodology and consensus building, the guideline authors crafted recommendations for eight different clinical scenarios, including the initial treatment of patients with active PsA who have not received either OSMs or other treatments; treatment of patients with active PsA despite treatment with an OSM; treatment of patients with active PsA despite treatment with a TNFi biologic either as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate; treatment of patients with active PsA despite treatment with an interleukin (IL)-17 inhibitor or IL-12/23 inhibitor monotherapy; treatment of patients with active PsA including treat-to-target, active axial disease, enthesitis, or active inflammatory bowel disease; treatment of patients with active PsA and comorbidities, including concomitant diabetes and recurrent serious infections; vaccination in patients with active PsA; and treatment of patients with active PsA with nonpharmacologic interventions such as yoga and weight loss. Most of the treatment recommendations are conditional based on very low to moderate quality evidence. “Health care providers and patients must take into consideration all active disease domains, comorbidities, and the patient’s functional status in choosing the optimal therapy for an individual at a given point in time,” the authors emphasized.
Only five of the recommendations are listed as strong, including smoking cessation. Three of the strong recommendations concern adult patients with active PsA and concomitant active inflammatory bowel disease despite treatment with an OSM. They are “switch to a monoclonal antibody TNFi biologic over a TNFi biologic soluble receptor biologic,” “switch to a TNFi monoclonal antibody biologic over an IL-7i biologic,” and “switch to an IL-12/23i biologic over switching to an IL-17i biologic.”
The process of creating the guideline included input from a panel of nine adults who provided the authors with perspective on their values and preferences. “The concept of treat-to-target was challenging for patients,” the authors noted. “Although they saw value in improved outcomes, they also thought this strategy could increase costs to the patient (e.g., copayments, time traveling to more frequent appointments, etc.) and potentially increase adverse events. Therefore, a detailed conversation with the patient is needed to make decisions regarding treat-to-target.”
The authors concluded the guideline by calling for more comparative data to inform treatment selection in the future. “Several ongoing trials, including a trial to compare a TNFi biologic combination therapy with a TNFi biologic monotherapy and MTX monotherapy, will inform treatment decisions,” they wrote. “We anticipate future updates to the guideline when new evidence is available.”
Dr. Singh, who is also a staff rheumatologist at the Birmingham (Ala.) Veterans Affairs Medical Center, led development of the 2012 and 2015 ACR treatment guidelines for RA. He has received consulting fees from a variety of companies marketing rheumatologic drugs as well as research support from Takeda and Savient. The other guideline authors reported having numerous financial ties to industry.
SOURCE: Singh J et al. Arthritis Care Res. 2018 Nov 30. .