Preventive Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Are We Looking in the Right Direction?

Preventive treatment for rheumatoid arthritis: are we looking in the right direction?

Increasingly, evidence suggests that treatment of people at risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with anti-rheumatic drugs could prevent the onset of disease. Ongoing randomised controlled trials of treatments to prevent RA are starting to report their findings. There will be uncertainty about preventive treatment in practice, arising from the ability to predict who is at risk of RA, uncertain benefits and risks with preventive treatment and the convenience of treatment to the recipient. This talk describes preferences of pre-symptomatic, at risk people, for preventive treatments and the likely uptake of these treatments. Perspectives of at-risk people are then contrasted with patient and health care professional perspectives. The evidence will help policy makers and clinicians understand whether different preventive treatment strategies are likely to be acceptable to people to whom they might be offered. Furthermore, predicted uptake of treatments poses questions about the role of patient and public preferences in the prioritisation of research funding.

Dr Mark Harrison is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He leads the Initiative for Sustainable Health Care, a program of health economics and outcomes research focussed on the appropriate treatment of people with chronic diseases and the evaluation of policy interventions. Dr. Harrison is also a Scientist at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences at St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, and an Affiliate of Arthritis Research Canada. Before moving to Canada, Dr. Harrison was a Senior Research Fellow at Manchester Centre for Health Economics at the University of Manchester. He started his career working at the Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology Unit, also at the University of Manchester, where he completed his PhD in 2008.