Low medication compliance rate in lupus patients


Low compliance rates among lupus patients on prescribed medication pose a significant problem for their long-term survival, say GlobalData

According to GlobalData’s most recent lupus report, the market covering systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis (LN) is set to see strong growth from $1.2bn in 2015 to $3.2bn by 2025.

The life expectancy of those living with SLE has almost doubled over the last 50 years, with survival rates approaching 90%. Improved supportive treatments, particularly the increasing use of antimalarial therapy, are among the main drivers for this prolonged survival.

However, treatment options for the disease are sub-optimal, with high daily pill burdens and an increased rate of treatment-associated side effects over time, particularly for steroids.

Sebastian S. Gehrke, Healthcare Analyst for GlobalData, explains:

As there is currently no cure for SLE, sufferers are likely to take multiple immune-suppressing medications over the course of their lives.

A recent systemic review of the literature identified 11 studies covering self-reported surveys, electronic monitoring devices, clinical records, and prescription refill sources showing that more than half of all lupus patients are not taking their medication correctly, with antimalarial therapy showing particularly low compliance rates.

Gehrke notes: “Although this might be initially surprising, because antimalarials are known for their long-term beneficial effects and good safety profile, their therapeutic onset is slow and their benefits are not associated with the reduction of primary symptoms experienced by patients.”

The therapeutic onset of antimalarials is slow, and their benefits are not associated with the reduction of primary symptoms experienced by patients.

GlobalData has identified six promising pipeline drugs in clinical development for lupus which are likely to combat low compliance rates.

Five out of six of these drugs feature an improved dosing schedule of either weekly, biweekly, or monthly dosing, while one drug suffers still from a daily pill burden to lupus patients. Despite these problems, Gehrke said:

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“All of these investigational drugs have the potential to transform the lupus treatment landscape in their unique ways over the next decade.”