Aim: To propose recommendations for the use of biologic (TNF-alpha blocking) agents in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis (PsA).
Methods: We developed these recommendations by reviewing the evidence published in medical journals and in abstracts of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and of the European League against Rheumatism. A draft of the recommendations was circulated to a group of Italian Rheumatologists with a special interest in PsA and in therapy with biologic agents, and their suggestions were incorporated in the final version.
Results: A consensus was achieved regarding the initiation and the monitoring of anti-TNF-alpha agents in PsA. More specifically, we propose that anti-TNF-alphaagents be considered in active PsA resistant to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to at least two local steroid injections and at least 2 conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic agents (in cases of oligo/monoarthritis and/or enthesitis), and to at least two conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic agents (in patients with peripheral joints synovitis). Disease activity monitoring should be based on a variety of outcome measures including the ACR response criteria modified for use in PsA, the Bath ankylosing spondylitis disease activity index (BASDAI), and the Maastricht ankylosing spondylitis enthesis score (MASES). A favorable Expert opinion, based on evaluation of clinical symptoms and signs, of laboratory investigations (particularly acute phase reactants), and of imaging studies (whenever appropriate) should also be obtained.
Conclusion: These recommendations may be used for guidance in deciding which patients with PsA should receive biologic therapy. Regular updates of these recommendations will be implemented on the basis of the results of new clinical studies and of data from post-marketing surveillance.