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The study, presented at the ISR Autumn Meeting by Dr John Stack, Rheumatology Department, Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, found that an anti-TNF reduced dosing strategy is feasible and can yield significant cost savings.
The study involved 79 patients who were in remission. Over half, 57 per cent, had RA, while 13 per cent had psoriatic arthritis and 30 per cent had ankylosing spondylitis.
In the study, 69 per cent of the patients who successfully dose-reduced at year one were able to maintain the dose reduction up to year four.
The total estimated net savings of the study were €1.2 million, with an average cost saving per patient per year of €3,834. The study suggested that further studies could be designed to help define which patients are more likely to successfully dose-reduce.
Meanwhile, a Dublin study presented at the meeting highlighted the increased risk of arthritis in children with Trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome). As well as the increased disease risk, these children are frequently diagnosed late and have particular disease and treatment features, including small joint involvement of the hands and significant methotrexate-associated nausea.
The researchers said the annual Trisomy 21 surveillance programme should include a detailed musculoskeletal exam, which should improve diagnosis and thus outcomes in this patient population.