Background: The Australian Rheumatology Association Database (ARAD), a voluntary national registry, has been established to collect health information from Australian patients with inflammatory arthritis for the purpose of monitoring the benefits and safety of new treatments, in particular the biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs). These drugs are proving to be very effective, yet little is known of their long-term effectiveness or safety. Patient registries that systematically gather data on large cohorts of unselected patients are increasingly believed to be an essential means of answering questions of the long-term effectiveness and safety of new drugs. The aim of this report is to describe the role, development and structure of ARAD and provide some preliminary data.
Methods: As of 1 August 2006, 563 patients with rheumatoid arthritis prescribed a bDMARD have been enrolled in ARAD, involving 105 rheumatologists from across Australia.
Results: The data collected will enable examination of multiple domains of patient responses to bDMARDs, including quality of life, health-care utilization, incidence of adverse events and the effects of therapy switching.
Conclusion: Evidence-based information about the long-term outcome of bDMARD therapy is essential for clinicians, consumers, policy-makers, drug development companies and approval agencies, to enable better care and improved outcomes for patients with inflammatory arthritis.