Singapore Chapter of Rheumatologists consensus statement on the eligibility for government subsidy of biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic agents for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis

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In Singapore, patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) constitute a significant disease burden. There is good evidence for the efficacy of anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) in PsA; however cost remains a limiting factor. Non-biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (nbDMARDs) hence remain the first-line treatment option in PsA in spite of limited evidence. The Singapore Chapter of Rheumatologists aims to develop national guidelines for clinical eligibility for government-assisted funding of biologic disease modifying anti- rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) for PsA patients in Singapore.


Evidence synthesis was performed by reviewing seven published guidelines on use of biologics for PsA. Using the modified Research and Development/University of California at Los Angeles Appropriateness Method (RAM), rheumatologists rated indications for therapies for different clinical scenarios. Points reflecting the output from the formal group consensus were used to formulate the practice recommendations.


Ten recommendations were formulated relating to initiation, continuation and options of bDMARD therapy. The panellists agreed that a bDMARD is indicated if a patient has active PsA with at least five swollen and tender joints, digits or entheses and has failed two nbDMARD strategies at optimal doses for at least 3 months each. Any anti-TNF may be used and therapy may be continued if an adequate PsARC response is achieved by 3 months after commencement.


The recommendations developed by a formal group consensus method may be useful for clinical practice and guiding funding decisions by relevant authorities in making bDMARD usage accessible and equitable to eligible patients in Singapore.

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