eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
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abstract:
Clinical research

Management of rheumatoid arthritis in Poland – where daily practice might not always meet evidence-based guidelines

Bogdan Batko, Mariusz Korkosz, Anna Juś, Piotr Wiland

Online publish date: 2019/03/29
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Introduction
International recommendations are intended to help rheumatologists in the effective management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) through an evidence-based approach. This research aimed to evaluate management patterns and associated difficulties encountered by rheumatologists in daily practice.

Material and methods
Interviewers recruited 101 Polish rheumatologists in a random quota-based, nationwide sample of outpatient clinics. Quantitative data were input online using a computer-assisted web interview tool.

Results
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are not initiated at the time of diagnosis in 15% of RA patients, most often due to difficulties in patient-provider communication. The RA activity is assessed every 4 to 6 months by 30% of rheumatologists, and 64% of patients are reported to never achieve remission. Composite indices are the most reliable indicators of remission only for 38% of responders. Despite inadequate disease control with ≥ 2 treatment schedules with synthetic DMARDs, 34% of these patients are not considered for biological DMARDs (bDMARDs). Contraindications and reimbursement barriers are the most frequently stated reasons. Therapy with glucocorticoid (GC) lasting over 3 months is reported by 70% of rheumatologists. International recommendations are stated as the most common basis for treatment decisions.

Conclusions
Awareness of recommendations is not sufficient to ensure their application in clinical practice. Inadequate management of RA is quite prevalent, with a substantial contribution of non-medical factors. Daily practice mainly deviates from guidelines regarding frequency and mode of monitoring measures, time to DMARD initiation, and duration of GC treatment. Education programs and policy changes may significantly narrow the gap between evidence and practice.

keywords:

antirheumatic agents, time-to-treatment, rheumatologists

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