the PALACE programme of clinical trials.24
Ustekinumab is a human
monoclonal antibody that binds to the shared p40 subunit of interleukin-12 and IL-23, thereby blocking their biologic signalling.
Quality of care
Psoriasis and PsA patients tend to be undertreated. In the past decade, great efforts have been made in order to improve the therapeutic approach and outcomes of treatment; in this regard, a closer collaboration between rheumatologists and dermatologists has been envisaged and promoted, both in Europe and in the US. Furthermore, a greater participation of patients has been considered fundamental in the management of the disease, so that patients should be included in the assessment of their diseases as well as in the treatment decision process. These issues have been summarised in the so-called ‘Quality Movement’ in the US, including all sorts of interventions that might influence quality management of disease in general. In all fields of medicine, it has been felt that there is the need for evidence-based treatment guidelines and assessment of efficacy, monitoring on safety, overall outcome, and cost-effectiveness. In 2007, GRAPPA launched an Initiative for Quality aiming to promote ‘state of the art’ management of PsA patients, which implies early diagnosis and best treatment available, patients participation, and much more, in a single word – quality.25
The new developed biologic drugs are as effective as costly, and for this reason their use is currently limited in the western world countries, where different restrictions and strict criteria from the NHS and private insurance companies modulate their prescription to patients. Several pharmacoeconomic studies have been performed in order to evaluate the cost effectiveness of treatment with biologic drugs in chronic arthritis. Olivieri and colleagues recently performed an observational, longitudinal, multicentre study that evaluated PsA patients retrospectively and prospectively, and concluded that treatment with TNF antagonists is cost effective.26
confirmation of the cost-effectiveness of biologic drugs was also provided by Cawson and colleagues in their systematic review,27
and it is conceivable that similar
studies will also be performed in the future for the new biologic agents.
Despite the huge advances reached in the last 20 years in the understanding of the pathogenesis of PsA, in its diagnosis, assessment and treatment, there is still a long way to go. New effective drugs are now available, enabling physicians to influence the disabling course of the disease. The exact pathogenesis of PsA is still unknown, but the implementation of modern technologies will enable scientists and pharmaceutical companies to discover new targets and to develop new drugs in an attempt to halt the natural disabling history of this disease. l
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23. Schafer PH et al. Apremilast, a cAMP phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor, demonstrates anti- inflammatory activity in vitro and in a model of psoriasis. Br J Pharmacol 2010;159:842–55.
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27. Cawson M et al. Systematic review, network meta-analysis and economic evaluation of biologic therapy for the management of active psoriatic arthritis. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2014; 20:15–26.
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