To assess how patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) decide whether to add oral disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) versus injectable biologic DMARDs when methotrexate response is inadequate.
Using nominal group technique (NGT), RA patients answered the question “What sort of things are important to you when you make a decision between adding pills versus injectable medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis when methotrexate fails to control RA disease activity?” Patients nominated, discussed, and voted for the responses.
Forty-seven RA patients participated Birmingham (n=6 NG; 21 patients) and New York City (n=4 NG; 26 patients). They were predominantly female (85%), 70% white, with a mean age of 64.5 years and 58% with >10-year RA duration. Present/past DMARDs included methotrexate only in 6%, other traditional DMARDs in 15%, glucocorticoids in combination with traditional DMARDs in 11%, and biologics and/or Jak-kinase inhibitors in 68% of participants. Voted domains in order were: (1) Efficacy/effectiveness and the onset/mode of action (78/282 votes); (2) Side effects/fear of side effects (84/282 votes); (3) Cost including out of pocket, co-payments and patient responsibility (54/282 votes); (4) Convenience/frequency of use (27/282 votes); (5) Doctor’s opinion (20/282 votes); (6) Other drugs/comorbidity/other patient’s experience/effects on other people (3/282 votes); (7) Fear of Needles (8/282 votes); and (8) Newness of the medication (8/282 votes).
We identified the patient perspective regarding the choice between adding oral versus injectable DMARD once methotrexate failed to control RA disease activity. This knowledge can help in shared decision-making for DMARD choice in RA treatment.

Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.