Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that Amgen/Pfizer's Enbrel is the leading tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitor prescribed in newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, outpacing Abbott's Humira in the first three lines of treatment. According to the upcoming Treatment Algorithms in Rheumatoid Arthritis report, two percent of newly diagnosed RA patients receive Enbrel as a first-line drug within a year of diagnosis, while just over one percent of patients receive Humira. In the second-line, Enbrel is prescribed for 8.6 percent of newly diagnosed RA patients, while Humira is prescribed for 5.7 percent.
"Physician familiarity with Enbrel likely contributes to Enbrel's higher patient share in newly diagnosed RA patients. Enbrel has been on the market longer than Humira and subsequently has a longer-term safety record," said Decision Resources Therapeutic Area Director Madhuri Borde, Ph.D.
The report also finds that when comparing Centocor Ortho Biotech's Simponi and UCB's Cimzia with other TNF-alpha inhibitors, surveyed rheumatologists are more likely to say that inadequate initial response is the top reason they move patients from Simponi and Cimzia (68 percent and 57 percent, respectively). These findings compare with only 47 percent and 43 percent who say the same for Enbrel and Humira, respectively.
"We expect these relatively high percentages of physicians citing inadequate initial response for Simponi and Cimzia may reflect the use of these drugs in patients who have already failed at least one TNF-alpha inhibitor, as surveyed rheumatologists also indicate that the majority of these drugs' use is as a third-line or later biologic," said Dr. Borde. "However, surveyed rheumatologists who prescribe both agents estimate growing use of each drug in first- and second-line treatment."