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Adherence to self-administered biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) is necessary for therapeutic benefit. Health-system specialty pharmacies (HSSPs) have reported high adherence rates across several disease states; however, adherence outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) populations have not yet been established.
We performed a multisite retrospective cohort study including patients with RA and 3 or more documented dispenses of bDMARDs from January through December 2018. Pharmacy claims were used to calculate proportion of days covered (PDC). Electronic health records of patients with a PDC of <0.8 were reviewed to identify reasons for gaps in pharmacy claims (true nonadherence or appropriate treatment holds). Outcomes included median PDC across sites, reasons for treatment gaps in patients with a PDC of <0.8, and the impact of adjusting PDC when accounting for appropriate therapy gaps.
There were 29,994 prescriptions for 3,530 patients across 20 sites. The patient cohort was mostly female (75%), with a median age of 55 years (interquartile range [IQR], 42-63 years). The original(ie, prereview) median PDC was 0.94 (IQR, 0.83-0.99). Upon review, 327 patients had no appropriate treatment gaps identified, 6 patients were excluded due to multiple unquantifiable appropriate gaps, and 420 patients had an adjustment in the PDC denominator due to appropriate treatment gaps (43 instances of days’ supply adjusted based on discordant days’ supply information between prescriptions and physician administration instructions, 11 instances of missing fills added, and 421 instances of clinically appropriate treatment gaps). The final median PDC after accounting for appropriate gaps in therapy was 0.95 (IQR, 0.87-0.99).
This large, multisite retrospective cohort study was the first to demonstrate adherence rates across several HSSPs and provided novel insights into rates and reasons for appropriate gaps in therapy.

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