Tapering and Discontinuation of Biologics in Patients with Psoriatic Arthritis with Low Disease Activity.
Ye W., Tucker LJ., Coates LC.
The introduction of biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bMDARDs) have revolutionised the treatment of psoriatic arthritis (PsA). This combined with a 'treat-to-target' approach, means that achieving remission is increasingly possible. In patients with well-controlled PsA, there is little consensus on whether bDMARDs should be continued, tapered or discontinued altogether. Tapering or discontinuation of bDMARDs could offer significant financial savings and minimise patient burden and unwanted drug-related side effects. However, there is a risk of loss of remission. The primary focus of this paper is to review the current evidence on bDMARD tapering and discontinuation in PsA. We explore the criteria employed by studies to define patients eligible for bDMARD tapering or discontinuation and the process by which this occurs. We also review the outcomes of bDMARD tapering and discontinuation, the predictors, and the likelihood of restoring remission following relapse. To date, bDMARD tapering seems to be feasible and safe in patients with PsA who are in remission or with low disease activity. Lower disease activity prior to tapering seems to increase the likelihood of successful bDMARD tapering. In contrast, discontinuing bDMARDs appears to carry a substantial risk of loss of remission. Those with higher disease activity at time of tumour necrosis factor inhibitors discontinuation, current smokers, male sex, increased skin involvement, and synovial hypertrophy seen on ultrasound prior to discontinuation are at greater risk of losing remission post-bDMARD discontinuation. In those who lose remission, reinstating the standard dose of bDMARD appears to be effective in restoring remission.