Taylor & Francis Group
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Exploring preferences of at-risk individuals for preventive treatments for rheumatoid arthritis

posted on 2022-09-30, 15:00 authored by G Simons, K Schölin Bywall, M Englbrecht, EC Johansson, RL DiSantostefano, C Radawski, J Veldwijk, K Raza, M Falahee

Some immunomodulatory drugs have been shown to delay the onset of, or lower the risk of developing, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), if given to individuals at risk. Several trials are ongoing in this area; however, little evidence is currently available about the views of those at risk of RA regarding preventive treatment.

Three focus groups and three interviews explored factors that are relevant to first degree relatives (FDRs) of RA patients and members of the general public when considering taking preventive treatment for RA. The semi-structured qualitative interview prompts explored participant responses to hypothetical attributes of preventive RA medicines. Transcripts of focus group/interview proceedings were inductively coded and analysed using a framework approach.

Twenty-one individuals (five FDRs, 16 members of the general public) took part in the study. Ten broad themes were identified describing factors that participants felt would influence their decisions about whether to take preventive treatment if they were at increased risk of RA. These related either directly to features of the specific treatment or to other factors, including personal characteristics, attitude towards taking medication, and an individual’s actual risk of developing RA.

This research highlights the importance of non-treatment factors in the decision-making process around preventive treatments, and will inform recruitment to clinical trials as well as information to support shared decision making by those considering preventive treatment. Studies of treatment preferences in individuals with a confirmed high risk of RA would further inform clinical trial design.


The current qualitative focus group study was conducted as part of a clinical case study for the Patient Preferences in Benefit–Risk Assessments during the Drug Life Cycle (PREFER) project. PREFER has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement no 115966. This joint undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). This paper and its contents reflect the authors’ view and not the view of IMI, the European Union, or EFPIA. K Raza is supported by the NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre.