Limited evidence prevents firm conclusions on psoriatic arthritis drug therapies

Research Activities, June 2012, No. 382

A newly updated research review from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reinforces the current standards of care for drug therapies used to treat psoriatic arthritis (PsA). The review found that there is minimal evidence to compare the effectiveness among and between oral and biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Limited evidence does support the efficacy of biologic DMARDs (adalimumab, etanercept, golimumab, and infliximab) for the treatment of PsA. However, evidence is insufficient to draw firm conclusions about the effectiveness, functional status, health-related quality of life, or tolerability of DMARDs for treating PsA.

PsA, which affects less than 1 percent of Americans (approximately 520,000), is one of the most disabling forms of arthritis, and it is associated with the skin disease psoriasis. Symptoms of PsA vary and generally include joint pain and inflammation and progressive joint involvement and damage. Based on 1997 estimates for psoriasis and PsA, annual direct costs are approximately $650 million. Direct costs associated with PsA only are unknown. Patients with arthritis experience decreased quality of life, declining employment rates, and increased direct and indirect costs for care.

These findings can be found in the PsA review Drug Therapy for Psoriatic Arthritis in Adults: Update of a 2007 Report. The review adds to AHRQ's growing library of resources for arthritis, one of AHRQ's priority topics.

To access this review and other materials from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program that explore the effectiveness and risks of treatment options for various conditions, visit the Effective Health Care Program Web site.

Page last reviewed June 2012
Internet Citation: Limited evidence prevents firm conclusions on psoriatic arthritis drug therapies: Research Activities, June 2012, No. 382. June 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.