Overcoming provider barriers to therapeutic drug monitoring of tumour necrosis factor inhibitors for rheumatoid arthritis: a qualitative analysis

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Abstract

Objective
Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) of tumour necrosis factor-α inhibitors (TNFi), by measuring drug levels and/or anti-drug antibodies, is being considered by various international bodies to improve patient health outcomes and the value of care for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology care providers may perceive barriers to adopting TNFi TDM within their own clinical practice, limiting the potential for patients and health care systems to benefit. This study aimed to explore the barriers perceived by rheumatologists that may reduce their uptake of TNFi TDM for rheumatoid arthritis.

Method
Semi-structured one-to-one telephone interviews were performed with a convenience sample of senior rheumatologists with experience of managing people with rheumatoid arthritis. The interviews explored the rheumatologists’ understanding of TDM and their beliefs about how it can be integrated into their own routine practice. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and anonymized. Transcripts were coded inductively and barriers to using TNFi TDM were identified by thematic framework analysis.

Result
A sample of eleven senior rheumatologists were interviewed. The rheumatologists described five barriers to adopting TNFi TDM in routine practice: (i) observing clinical need; (ii) understanding how testing can improve practice; (iii) insufficient clinical evidence; (iv) insufficient resources to pay for testing; and (v) insufficient capability to deliver testing.

Conclusion
Barriers to adopting TNFi TDM in routine care settings will restrict the ability for patients to benefit from effective monitoring strategies as they begin to emerge. Strategies to overcome these barriers are suggested which will require a coordinated response from stakeholders across health care systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberrkae030
Number of pages8
JournalRheumatology Advances in Practice
Volume8
Issue number2
Early online date4 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • anti-drug antibody
  • drug level
  • qualitative
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • therapeutic drug monitoring

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