According to a story from Specialty Pharmacy Times, medical professions are starting to recognize the need for a new standardized treatment plan for pediatric rheumatic diseases. Pediatric diseases are illnesses that particularly occur in childhood or are commonly treated in children. An article published in the academic journal Arthritis & Rheumatology highlighted this necessity as the variability in treatment approach was substantial. Rheumatic diseases include conditions such as lupus, fibromyalgia, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
In the field of rare disease treatment, it is an indisputable fact that no patient will respond in the exact same manner to therapy due to natural variations common in patients. However, it is generally expected that there is a basic set of care guidelines available so that doctors know where to begin when determining the treatment regimen. Trials testing is a good way to determine these basic care standards, but they are less useful when the patient population is small. In the article, the authors determined that a viable alternative to trials would be the creation of consensus treatment plans (CTPs). These plans would be developed by a group of specialists in order to test different approaches and reduce the wide variability in current treatment.
At this juncture, the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance has already begun the process to develop CTPs in order to begin the process of standardizing treatments. Ideally, the parents and doctors are expected to determine what CTP they will choose to follow in order to determine what regimen will work best for the specific case. In addition, there are clinical trials already underway that are testing the effectiveness of CTPs in a group of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The trials will elucidate the feasibility of different CTP plans and document the differences in outcomes between them.
Ideally, doctors hope to eventually be able to recognize specific bio-markers in patients in order to discover what determines a patient’s response or lack of response to treatment. This in-depth research is just a part of a major shift in the health field towards customized, case-by-case medicine. This transition will hopefully mark an improvement in efficiency when it comes to treatment.