In the current scenario, a 64-year-old female patient has suffered from Rheumatoid arthritis ( RA ) and she seemed to demo no betterment despite her current intervention for 6 months. RA is a chronic redness disease and harmonizing to the study of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence ( NICE February 2009 ) RA affects 10000 people each twelvemonth in the UK population. RA is characterised by swelling and painful articulations, usually symmetrical and frequently impacting diarthrodial articulations of custodies and pess [ Firestein GS. , 2003 ] . Although RA normally attacks articulations, it can besides impact other variety meats such as bosom, lung and eyes. The exact pathogenesis of the disease still remains to be discovered. However, autoimmunity activities are believed to be to play a major function in the development of the disease. The unnatural release of inflammatory factors such as interleukins ( IL ) and tissue mortification factor ( TNF ) by the peripheral inflammatory cells such as CD4+ T cells, B cells and macrophages are involved in the patterned advance of RA which leads to inflammatory reaction at the synovial fluid ( SF ) and synovial tissues ( ST ) that line the joint and resulted in joint devastation [ Agarwal et al. , 2005 ] . When the redness progresses into farther phase, portion of the synovial membrane which envelops the SF will develop into pannus which is an inflammatory tissues that farther assail the joint and gristle and may take to joint merger by let go ofing destructive enzymes such as collagenase. Harmonizing to Scots Intercollegiate Guidelines Network ( SIGN 48 ) guidelines, RA is normally diagnosed by recovering patient ‘s medical history and scrutiny on elevated degree of inflammatory markers such as non-specific erythrocyte deposit rate ( ESR ) , C-reactive protein ( CRP ) and a more specific arthritic factor, which is an auto-antibody nowadayss in 80 % of RA patients [ Firestein GS. , 2003 ] .
The incidence of RA may non be seen every bit serious as other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and malignant neoplastic disease which recorded a higher morbidity and mortality rate, but one time the disease progresses, it can give a great impact on patient ‘s day-to-day life. It accounts for 0.8 % of entire planetary Year Lived with Disability ( YLD ) , which is the 31st prima cause of YLD globally [ Symmons et al. , 2006 ] . As a chronic redness disease, RA causes lasting joint harm if it is non treated suitably every bit shortly as possible and a long-time medicine is required to decelerate down the patterned advance of the disease. The joint harm starts at the early phase of disease and worsens increasingly resulted in troubles in patients ‘ day-to-day work. A simple day-to-day undertaking such as opening a bottle or walking across the room can ensue in great hurting for RA patients. Some patients might even necessitate to discontinue or alter their current occupation due to sore articulations. Epidemiology survey showed that RA is associated with decreased life anticipation and increased mortality [ Anthony et al. , 2003 ] . As RA develops, the disease finally invades the bone around the joint and may take to osteoporosis due to inflammatory activities. Furthermore, RA intervention utilizing corticoid besides increases the hazard of osteoporosis due to depletion of Ca and increase loss of bone mass [ Kelman et al. , 2005 ] . Besides that, merely like other redness diseases, RA patients can confront anemic jobs where red blood cells production is inhibited during redness.
After the importance of early intervention of DMARDs has been recognised, the old “ intervention pyramid ” used in RA which started off with diagnostic intervention utilizing anodynes such as NSAIDs has been reviewed. The “ intervention pyramid ” describes the usage of anodynes in the early phase of disease to alleviate hurting and merely starts DMARDs when the disease develops into more advanced phase where NSAIDs can no longer command the hurting and redness. However, several surveies have shown that protection of articulation from harm utilizing DMARDs should be started every bit shortly as possible to supply better patients ‘ forecast and continue patient functional ability [ Egmose et al. , 1995 ; van der Heide et al. , 1996 ] . Therefore both NICE and SIGN guidelines suggest the early usage of DMARDs to command and detain RA symptoms after diagnosing of RA is confirmed.
There is no definite intervention for RA as patients may react otherwise to the assortment picks of RA pharmacological therapy. Normally RA patients would be started with the most normally used DMARDs and reviewed invariably for drugs effectiveness until symptoms are well-controlled by the DMARDs therapy. Further change in the intervention needs to be done if no satisfactory response is achieved. As in this instance survey, the female patient has failed to react to six-month intervention of sulfasalazine, which is one of the commonly used DMARDs in commanding RA. Thus an option should be sought every bit shortly as possible to forestall major joint devastation.
Harmonizing to NICE guidelines 2009, it is stated that if RA patient does non react to the first DMARDs intervention, the dosage of the drug should be reviewed and focused to supply an effectual and suited dosage for the patient before a 2nd option of DMARDs is sought. In the current scenario, the patient had failed to react to six-month therapy of SLS, it is assumed that the dosage of SLS had been adjusted to the possible maximal bound but still demo no benefit in the patient. Thus, farther intervention would be focused on seeking for an alternate DMARDs.
DMARDs are drugs from different categories that are grouped together due to their similarity in decelerating down the patterned advance of RA and understating joint devastation caused by RA besides commanding the symptoms. The normally used DMARDs include sulfasalazine ( SLS ) , amethopterin ( MTX ) , gold, Cuprimine, anti-malarial, azathioprine, leflunomide and cyclosporine. SLS and MTX are most preferable in clinical pattern due to their favourable toxicity profiles although intramuscular gold and Cuprimine had shown similar effectivity in handling RA [ Aletaha et al. , 2003 ; Felson et al. , 1990 ; Capell et al. , 1993 ] . MTX and SLS were considered to be safer at usage as it was shown that there was no important difference in the incidence of side-effects reported between high and low dose intervention of the drugs [ Aletaha et al. , 2003 ] . Since the patient has failed to react to SLS, MTX would normally be the following option in head. However, there is a pick to do whether to utilize MTX in combination with SLS or replace SLS with MTX as monotherapy. DMARDs combination has been recommended in NICE guidelines for early RA intervention, but more clinical groundss need to be sought for the usage of combination in established RA, which is pictured in the current scenario as the patient has been suffered from RA for more than 6 months and immune to SLS therapy.
Three surveies were found to compare the usage of MTX monotherapy and dual-therapy with SLS in patients unresponsive to SLS. Among the three, two were randomised controlled tests ( RCT ) while one was non-randomised experimental test [ Haagsma et al. , 1994 ; Capell et al. , 2007 ; Schipper et al. , 2009 ] The first RCT was carried out in 1994 which merely included a little figure of patients ( n=40 ) based on a single-observer method over 24 hebdomads while a longer continuance ( & gt ; 18 months ) of double-blind placebo-controlled survey with a larger survey group ( n=165 ) was adopted in the 2nd RCT in 2007. Despite the difference in the survey features, both RCTs concluded that MTX-SLS double therapy had a greater efficaciousness in commanding symptoms over MTX monotherapy in SLS-resistant patients without important addition in toxicity. However, although the 2nd RCT had shown important clinical benefits for combination therapy compared to the usage of monotherapy, no important advantage was seen in radiological results or functional disablement. The 3rd survey was a recent test published in 2009 investigated 230 patients who were immune to SLS intervention utilizing the similar intervention magnitude as the old surveies to measure the drug efficaciousness. This test was carried out for more than 15 old ages and concluded that that both options provided similar consequence. The disagreement was believed to be caused by the deficiency of control group in the ulterior test which might lend to biased consequences and inconsistent usage of other drugs such as corticoids in different tests which might misdirect the reading of drug efficaciousness.
Besides efficaciousness and toxicity, cost of intervention is the following of import factor to be considered in taking the right intervention for the patient. However, really few surveies were done comparing the cost-effectiveness of different DMARDs because RA is non every bit prevailing as other major diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and it does non normally result in immediate decease. The more recent cost-effectiveness analysis on DMARDs was done in Thailand from the social point of position where the costs included a direct cost and indirect cost [ Osiri et al. , 2007 ] . In order to enable numerical comparing, the cost-effectiveness of the therapies was measured utilizing the Incremental Cost-effectiveness Ratio ( ICER ) which is the entire cost in US dollar needed to accomplish one unit of ( HAQ ) Health Assessment Questionnaire, which comprised of 20 inquiries on patients ‘ self-report functional and disablement position. The ICER of each intervention was compared against the anti-malarial monotherapy as anti-malarial was recognised as the cheapest and least efficacious DMARDs available. Comparing among the sum of 152 RA patients, it was found that MTX and SLS therapy recorded a three times lower ICER compared to MTX monotherapy, which explained that the double therapy was less dearly-won and more effectual compared to the monotherapy ( US $ 625 versus US $ 2061 per one unit of HAQ mark ) . However, this survey was non specifically directed to SLS-resistant patients. Therefore, merely a comparative comparing can be made on the cost for the current scenario.
The following option of intervention for the current patient is the usage of three-base hit therapy which uses MTX, SLS and an anti-malarial. It was shown in a biennial, prospective randomised test on 180 patients that the ternary therapy had given a better curative efficaciousness over the dual- ( MTX and SLS or MTX and anti-malarial ) and MTX monotherapy irrespective of the drugs given in the early RA intervention [ Calguneri et al. , 1999 ] . Again, the incidence of inauspicious effects did non increase significantly with the addition in figure of drugs. The enhanced benefit by adding an anti-malarial agent to MTX intervention had further strengthened the grounds shown antecedently by a long-run followup survey on patients who were treated with ternary therapy. It was shown in the old survey that patients who had failed to react to at least one DMARD and treated with ternary therapy had shown continued betterment with minimum toxicity after 3 old ages compared to MTX monotherapy and SLS-hydroxychloroquine therapy [ O’Dell et al. , 1999 ] . Addition of anti-malarial agent to MTX had been shown to execute better than MTX-SLS combination, which proposed an implicit in interactive activity of anti-malarial and MTX when they are used together likely due to heighten MTX bioavailability by anti-malarial [ O’Dell et al. , 2002 ; Carmichael et al. , 2002 ] . In footings of the intervention cost, based on the same cost-effectiveness survey mentioned above, ternary therapy recorded a lower ICER ( US $ 1222 per one unit of HAQ mark ) than MTX monotherapy, but about twice every bit high as the ICER of MTX-SLS therapy.
Other than utilizing the traditional DMARDs, the freshly developed biological anti-rheumatic drugs are besides being studied for SLS immune patients. Since RA involves a great trade of cytokines activities, specific cytokines blockers have been investigated to stamp down or modify the redness procedure. The most normally used biological agents include infliximab, etanercept and adalimumab which target the tissue mortification factor, TNF-I± , which is one of the chief cytokines released by macrophage that farther induces the release of other cytokines which are responsible for the redness. NICE guidelines emphasized that TNF-I± inhibitors can merely be used when the patient has failed to react to intervention of at least two DMARDs including amethopterin. However, Combe et Al. had tried a different attack where Enbrel has been used and investigated in patients specifically having SLS intervention but still have ailment of active RA without affecting MTX [ Combe et al. , 2006 ] . It was found that etanercept monotherapy or in combination with SLS had given better betterment in American College of Rheumatology ( ACR ) standards compared to patients treated with SLS entirely. There was no important difference in the efficaciousness in the etanercept monotherapy and combination group. However, there was a significantly higher incidence rate of side-effects such as concern, sickness and astheny in the combination group while a higher hazard of infections and injection side reactions were recorded in patients with etanercept entirely. Besides that, as a biological drug, TNF-I± inhibitors can non get away the fact of doing serious inauspicious effects such as malignance, demyelination and increased susceptibleness to infections like TB [ Nahar et al. , 2003 ] . However when the ratio of efficaciousness over toxicity is concerned, a meta-analysis showed that TNF inhibitors have a higher ratio than gold and sulfasalazine [ Ravindran et al. , 2008 ] . Again, when cost is concerned, etanercept intervention, as expected is much expensive compared to DMARDs, where the cost was shown to be more than twice higher than the most expensive DMARD available, cyclosporin [ Jobanputra et al. , 2002 ] .
Comparing the four options available, MTX monotherapy, MTX-SLS dual-therapy, ternary therapy and etanercept therapy, MTX-SLS dual-therapy seems to be the best intervention for the current patient as it is supported by groundss for its lower cost with comparable efficaciousness in SLS immune patients. It might non be the most effectual intervention compared to treble therapy, but it is ever advisable to understate the figure of drugs used in a patient to forestall unneeded inauspicious effects or drug interactions. However, there is still possibility that the patient may still be unresponsive to the dual-therapy as there is no definite warrant on the action of the therapy on every RA patient and the possibility of developing immune to MTX. Thus, the National Clinical Guidelines recommends monthly reappraisal of CRP ( C-Reactive Protein ) , an inflammatory marker and other cardinal constituents of disease activity such as DAS 28 ( Disease Activity Score based on 28 articulations ) until the disease is controlled by the given intervention to a degree antecedently discussed and agreed by the patients. If there is still no satisfactory respond, farther change in the therapy needs to be done such as sing the ternary therapy or etanercept therapy.
Besides giving the slow-acting disease modifying drugs, SIGN 48 guidelines suggest the usage of intra-articular injection of corticoids to give rapid diagnostic alleviation before the oncoming of the new DMARDs therapy. Oral corticoids are non preferred to be used as a long-run intervention as it can do serious inauspicious consequence on bone mass and GI systems and it merely shows benefit in the early intervention of active RA [ Saag et al. , 1995 ; Kirwan et al. , 1995 ] If injection is non possible, so low dosage of unwritten corticoid is used in a shortest continuance possible [ Laan et al. , 1995 ] .
For the diagnostic hurting control on top of DMARDs, mentioning to SIGN 48 guidelines, whenever possible, simple anodynes such as paracetamol are preferred over NSAIDs due to set up side-effects peculiarly GI annoyance. If simple anodynes are non powerful plenty to alleviate the hurting, a low dose NSAIDs such as isobutylphenyl propionic acid or more selective Cyclooxygenase ( Cox-2 ) inhibitors such as etoricoxib can be prescribed for the shortest continuance possible. When NSAIDs or Cox-2 inhibitors have to be used, coincident usage of GI protective medicine such as proton-pump inhibitors should be considered for aged and patients with history of GI ulcerations. Both NICE and SIGN guidelines recommend that dosage of NSAIDs should be reviewed and reduced once patients show equal response to DMARDs.
In drumhead, the patient should be continued with SLS, at the same clip, added with MTX as the combined DMARDs therapy. In add-on, intra-articular or short-course unwritten corticoid should be commenced as a “ span therapy ” before the oncoming of action of the new DMARDs therapy. For diagnostic control, if paracetamol is non equal to relief hurting, NSAIDs such as diclofenac together with a proton pump inhibitor such as Prilosec can be used unless it is contraindicated in the patient, so a Cox-2 inhibitor such as etoricoxib should be used. Besides that, patient would be put on a monthly monitoring to reexamine the effectivity of the new therapy.