To describe early rheumatologic management for newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in Canada.
A retrospective cohort of 339 randomly selected patients with RA diagnosed from 2001-2003 from 18 rheumatology practices was audited between 2005-2007.
The most frequent initial disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) included hydroxychloroquine (55.5%) and methotrexate (40.1%). Initial therapy with multiple DMARD (15.6%) or single DMARD and corticosteroid combinations (30.7%) was infrequent. Formal assessment measures were noted infrequently, including the Health Assessment Questionnaire (34.6%) and Disease Activity Score for 28 joints (8.9%).
Initial pharmacotherapy is consistent with guidelines from the period. The infrequent reporting of multiple DMARD combinations and formal assessment measures has implications for current clinical management and warrants contemporary reassessment.
To describe the longterm effectiveness and safety of etanercept in Canadian patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), treated over 24 months in clinical practice.
Patients with active PsA (= 3 tender and = 3 swollen joints) were recruited from 22 centers. Etanercept was administered at 50 mg/week subcutaneously. In addition to clinical assessment of skin and joint disease, conducted at baseline and at Months 6, 12, 18, and 24, regular patient interviews were conducted by telephone. Patient responses related to health status, disability, and work productivity were scored using the patient global assessment tool, the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), the Health and Labour Questionnaire (HLQ), and the Fatigue Severity Scale.
Out of 110 patients, 71 (65%) maintained etanercept treatment through the end of our study. All clinical measures of disease severity, including joint tenderness/pain, joint swelling, and Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score, improved significantly between baseline and Month 6 of etanercept treatment and remained constant thereafter. By the end of our study, 79% of patients achieved a Psoriatic Arthritis Response Criteria response, and 56% of patients achieved a 0.5-point improvement on HAQ, indicating clinically significant improvement in disability; 14% of patients finished our study free of disability (HAQ = 0). Patients' work productivity and fatigue improved significantly in parallel with these clinical and functional improvements.
Continuous treatment with etanercept over 2 years in a clinical setting improved clinical symptoms of PsA while reducing fatigue, improving work productivity, and ameliorating or eliminating disability.
To evaluate the ability of a systematic educational intervention strategy to change the plain radiography ordering behavior of chiropractors toward evidence-based practice for patients with acute low back pain (LBP).
A quasi-experimental method was used comparing outcomes before and after the intervention with those of a control community.
Two communities in southern Ontario.
Mailed survey data on the management of acute LBP. Outcome Measures Plain radiography use rates for acute LBP based on responses to mailed surveys.
Following the intervention, there was a 42% reduction in the self-report need for plain radiography for uncomplicated acute LBP (P .05).
The educational intervention strategy used in this study appeared to have an effect in reducing the perceived need for plain radiography in acute LBP.
To determine the proportion of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) under rheumatologic care treated with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) within 6 months from symptom onset and the components of time to treatment and its predictors.
A historical inception cohort of 339 patients with RA randomly selected from 18 rheumatology practices was audited. The proportion that initiated DMARD treatment within 6 months from symptom onset was estimated using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Time to each component of the care pathway was estimated. Multivariable modeling was used to determine predictors of early treatment using 12 preselected variables available in the clinical charts. Bootstrapping was used to validate the model.
Within 6 months from symptom onset, 41% (95% CI 36%-46%) of patients were treated with DMARD. The median time to treatment was 8.4 (interquartile range 3.8-24) months. Events preceding rheumatology referral accounted for 78.1% of the time to treatment. The most prominent predictor of increased time to treatment was a concomitant musculoskeletal condition, such as osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia. The significance of other variables was less consistent across the models investigated. Included variables accounted for 0.69 ± 0.03 of the variability in the model.
Fewer than 50% of patients with RA are treated with DMARD within 6 months from symptom onset. Time to referral to rheumatology represents the greatest component delay to treatment. Concomitant musculoskeletal condition was the most prominent predictor of delayed initiation of DMARD. Implications of these and other findings warrant further investigation.
Recent studies suggest that chiropractors continue to widely use radiography for assessing patients with acute low back pain. This practice is contrary to growing evidence that suggests only a small percentage of patients with acute low back pain require radiographic evaluation.
To assess quantitatively and qualitatively the views of chiropractors in a selected community in Ontario on the use of radiography for evaluating patients with acute low back pain.
Mailed surveys and focus group interview.
Surveys were mailed to all chiropractors (N = 26) in a selected community in Ontario, followed by a focus group session with local chiropractors (n = 7). Surveys requested information on personal and practice characteristics and the management of low back pain, including the use of radiography. The focus group, led by a facilitator, discussed issues surrounding practice guidelines and radiography use.
There was a 76% response rate to the mailed surveys. Of those who responded, 63% stated they would use radiography on patients with uncomplicated acute low back pain lasting 1 week; 68% stated that radiographs were useful in the diagnostic evaluation of patients with acute low back pain lasting less than 1 month. Most reasons given for use of radiography in this patient population are not supported by existing evidence.
There appears to be a high rate of radiographic use by chiropractors in the study community, which is consistent with findings in previous studies. Many of the reasons given for use of radiography are not supported by existing evidence and may contribute to the gap between current chiropractic practice and available evidence with respect to use of radiography for acute low back pain.