Gastroenterologists Are Using Biologic Agents, both Approved and Off-Label, More Aggressively for Patients with Active UC Than They Were One Year Ago, According to a Recent BioTrends Report
BioTrends Research Group, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for specialized biopharmaceutical issues, finds that, nearly half of surveyed gastroenterologists, unaided, note that they are using biologic agents more aggressively and / or earlier on in the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC). Overall, gastroenterologists report a significant increase in biologic use among moderate to severe UC patients. Though both Janssen's Remicade and Abbott's Humira are driving the escalation of biologic treatment among patients with active disease, Humira has experienced the greatest increase in patient share over the past year among the severe UC patient population, with patient share more than doubling from 2011 to 2012 (9 percent versus 19 percent). Furthermore, most gastroenterologists believe the FDA approval of Humira will increase their prescribing of the drug in the future and believe that Humira has specific advantages over Remicade. The most common advantages mentioned (unaided) are Humira's subcutaneous administration compared to Remicade's IV infusion, and the potential to have a lower rate of immunogenicity than Remicade given that Humira is a humanized monoclonal antibody whereas Remicade is a chimeric monoclonal antibody. Though the vast majority agree that the approval of Humira for UC offers clear benefits when treating the disease, over three-quarters of surveyed gastroenterologists also note that Humira has a shorter track record with less data for treating UC and is less efficacious compared to Remicade.
The recently published TreatmentTrends®: Ulcerative Colitis (US) report reveals that over two-thirds of the surveyed physicians feel that there is a high unmet need for new agents to treat UC, second only to the need for new therapies for Crohn's disease. Though physicians note the high unmet need in UC, often citing that biologics are not efficacious in UC and that achieving and maintaining remission is a challenge, unaided awareness of products in development is low. When aided, over half of the surveyed gastroenterologists rate Humira as the emerging biologic agent that will bring the most value to their practice, due to the drug's long standing history of safety and efficacy in other indications, ease of administration via subcutaneous injection, and physician familiarity; nearly one-third believe that Pfizer's tofacitinib will bring the most value due to its oral route of administration and novel JAK-inhibitor mechanism of action; followed by Millennium's vedolizumab then Janssen's Simponi as the third and fourth most valuable product in development.
TreatmentTrends®: Ulcerative Colitis (US) is an annual syndicated primary market research report series that provides a comprehensive view of the current and expected future management of UC, with a focus on biologic treatment. The survey was fielded in September, just prior to the FDA approval of Humira for UC. The study included 100 board-certified gastroenterologists. TreatmentTrends®: Ulcerative Colitis (US) covers treatment approaches, including the use of pharmacotherapy for the treatment of UC, as well as attitudes and perceptions toward the biologic agents, advantages and disadvantages of these agents, ideal patient types, barriers to growth and expected future use. In addition, respondents were queried about their awareness of and interest in products in development for the treatment of UC.
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