Despite improved quality of care for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, many still experience treatment failure with a biologic agent and eventually switch to another biologic agent. We investigated patterns of biologic treatment and reasons for switching biologics in patients with RA. Patients with RA who had started on a biologic agent or had switched to another biologic agent were identified from the prospective observational Korean nationwide Biologics (KOBIO) registry. The KOBIO registry contained 1184 patients with RA at the time of initiation or switching of biologic agents. Patients were categorized according to the chronological order of the introduction of biologic agents, and reasons for switching biologics were also evaluated. Of the 1184 patients with RA, 801 started with their first biologic agent, 228 were first-time switchers, and 89 were second-time or more switchers. Second-time or more switchers had lower rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP positivity, and higher disease activity scores at the time of enrollment than the other groups. Among these patients, tocilizumab was the most commonly prescribed biologic agent, followed by adalimumab and etanercept. The most common reason for switching biologics was inefficacy, followed by adverse events, including infusion reactions, infections, and skin eruptions. Furthermore, the proportion of inefficacy, as a reason for switching, was significantly higher with respect to switching between biologics with different mechanisms of action than between biologics with similar mechanisms. In this registry, we showed diverse prescribing patterns and differing baseline profiles based on the chronological order of biologic agents.
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