Value in Prescribing biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) Program
Targeted Therapies Alliance
The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) has joined NPS MedicineWise and seven other organisations representing pharmacists, specialists, consumers and research experts to form the Targeted Therapies Alliance (the Alliance). The Alliance provides stewardship and direction about the safe and wise use of biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) and other specialised medicines.
Resources developed and under development include:
- Rheumatology interventions
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Dermatology and gastroenterology interventions
- bDMARDs Quick Reference Guide ↗
The Alliance has developed information and resources for health professionals and consumers, including practical tools for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Resources for pharmacists
- Webinar: Low-dose methotrexate for the treatment of inflammatory arthritis
This SHPA webinar features Professor Susanna Proudman, Head of Rheumatology, Royal Adelaide Hospital. The CPD-accredited session provides an overview of the myths associated with the use of methotrexate and outlines key practice points for pharmacists to consider when they are interacting with patients with inflammatory arthritis.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and inflammatory arthritis
This article from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) examines the role of MTX and b/tsDMARDS in the management of RA, PsA and AS, and highlights the role of pharmacists in supporting these patients to improve their quality of life and activities of daily living. Note: Non-members will need to create a free account to access this article.
- Online learning module: Optimising the use of biological and targeted synthetic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs – the key role of pharmacists
This interactive online module from the PSA will allow pharmacists to follow a patient as they transition between different care settings, from the point of their diagnosis with RA to the initiation of bDMARD therapy. At several points along their journey, pharmacists will need to make clinical decisions to help optimise their medication management.
- An Australian living guideline for the pharmacological management of inflammatory arthritis
This living guideline presents the best available, current scientific evidence for pharmacological management of the most common forms of inflammatory arthritis (namely RA, PsA and axial SpA), including choice of DMARD, switching, combination therapy and down-titration of treatment.
- Supporting safe practices for low-dose methotrexate: Position statement on the use of low-dose methotrexate (PDF)
This position statement from the Council of Australian Therapeutic Advisory Groups (CATAG) aims to provide clear information on safety for those dispensing and administering low-dose methotrexate and assists them with providing reassurance to people undergoing treatment with low-dose methotrexate.
For more information, visit the Rheumatology conditions for health professionals page on the NPS MedicineWise website.
- Video: Living with methotrexate
In this video, consumer Suzanne talks about her treatment journey and the impact methotrexate has had on her rheumatoid arthritis.
- Methotrexate action plan (PDF)
This action plan can help patients discuss methotrexate with their rheumatologist and plan the best way to take their medicine.
For more information, visit the Rheumatology conditions for consumers page on the NPS MedicineWise website.
The Alliance has worked closely with Crohn’s & Colitis Australia and the Gastroenterological Society of Australia to develop the following new resources, created with input from consumers with IBD and gastroenterologists:
- A patient action plan to help people learn about the benefits and risks of thiopurines for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis with their gastroenterologist
- A decision aid to help people make decisions about how to use the medicines for ulcerative colitis and their benefits in collaboration with a gastroenterologist.
- A patient action plan to help people discuss low-dose methotrexate for Crohn’s disease with their gastroenterologist.
Other resources to help people manage their treatments for inflammatory bowel disease include the NPS MedicineWise app, to keep track of medicines and remind people when medicine doses and appointments are due, and the Medicines list, a useful way to keep medicine information together.
The Alliance is currently working closely with dermatology and gastroenterology professional and consumer organisations to design and develop resources and materials for these conditions, and these will be available from mid-2021.