Belgian rheumatologists' perception on eligibility of RA patients for anti-TNF treatment matches more closely Dutch rather than Belgian reimbursement criteria
Geens, Elke × Geusens, Piet Vanhoof, Johan Berghs, Hubert Praet, Johan Esselens, Greet Lens, Simonne Dufour, Jean-Pol Vandenberghe, Marc Van Mullem, Xavier Westhovens, Rene Verschueren, Patrick #
Oxford University Press
Rheumatology vol:48 issue:5 pages:546-550
OBJECTIVES: To assess discrepancies between perception of Belgian rheumatologists on eligibility of RA patients for anti-TNF treatment and Belgian reimbursement criteria and to compare Belgian with Dutch criteria and UK guidelines. METHODS: Consecutive MTX-experienced patients with active RA were recruited from 25 private and academic rheumatology practices. Discrepancies between eligibility for anti-TNF treatment according to the rheumatologist and fulfillment of Belgian reimbursement criteria [HAQ > or =25%, tender joint count (TJC) and swollen joint count (SJC) > or =8; > or =1 erosion; failure of > or =2 DMARDs including MTX; no tuberculosis] were recorded. Reasons for failing the Belgian criteria and results of applying Dutch reimbursement criteria and UK guidelines on the dataset were analysed. RESULTS: Of 492 patients, rheumatologists considered 135 (27.4%) as eligible, whereas Belgian criteria were fulfilled for only 34 (6.9%). Positive predictive value (PPV) of rheumatologists' perception on eligibility for fulfillment of Belgian criteria was 22.9%, whereas negative predictive value (NPV) was 99.1%. The 104 patients (21.1%) considered eligible despite criteria not being fulfilled had significantly greater TJCs, SJCs, disease activity score (DAS28) and Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity Index scores than the 385 patients (78.2%) in the no-discrepancy group. Number of swollen joints, HAQ and erosions mainly accounted for discrepancies. Of 492 patients, 263 (53.4%) qualified for Dutch criteria and 41 (8.3%) for UK guidelines. PPV of Belgian rheumatologists' perception was 72.6% for fulfilling Dutch criteria (NPV 49.6%) and 23.4% for UK guidelines (NPV 96.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Rheumatologists consider more RA patients eligible for anti-TNF treatment than would be reimbursed according to Belgian criteria. Dutch guidelines, based on DAS28, match more closely eligibility according to Belgian rheumatologists.