EXTON, Pa., April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BioTrends Research Group, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the top five unmet needs for new SLE therapies are long-term safety, reduction in disease activity/flares, sustained efficacy, successful trial in lupus patients, and steroid-sparing benefits. Surveyed rheumatologists in the United States indicate that a steroid-sparing effect is an important benefit in a new drug for SLE based on their concerns about long-term steroid use. Generally speaking, rheumatologists are dissatisfied with current therapies for severe forms of SLE, and only one in three rheumatologists agree that their patients are optimally managed in terms of controlling the signs and symptoms of severe SLE.
The TreatmentTrends® SystemicLupus Erythematosus report finds that many physicians who have not prescribed GlaxoSmithKline/Human Genome Sciences' Benlysta (belimumab) since it was FDA approved two years ago report that the primary obstacle to using Benlysta is its narrow indication. Many of the patients they would like to prescribe Benlysta for are not included as approved indications. The following patient types were mentioned most often, on an unaided basis, as the patient types they would like to treat with Benlysta: African Americans, patients with renal disease, patients with a CNS disease, and patients with severe SLE.
"Rheumatologists are looking for new agents to help them with their refractory patients who suffer from multiple clinical manifestations without the serious side effects -- unfortunately, Benlysta does not have indications in many of the patient subtypes with the greatest unmet need," said BioTrends Senior Director, Greta Unger. "Physicians also expressed interest in an agent that is able to curb disease activity and prevent disease progression, which would ultimately lead to a reduction in the number of refractory patients."
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