A test that Exagen Diagnostics developed to help doctors control levels of a lupus therapy in patients’ blood has been endorsed by a company that supports arthritis and rheumatology practitioners around the United States, Exagen announced.
American Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates (AARA) powered by Bendcare also endorsed an Exagen blood test for rheumatoid arthritis.
The lupus test, AVISE HCQ, covers levels of HCQ, or hydroxychloroquine, which is used to treat joint pain, swelling, rashes, and fatigue associated with lupus. The AVISE MTX test covers MTX, or methotrexate, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. AVISE is the umbrella name that Exagen gave to its portfolio of tests.
The two tests show much of each treatment is in the blood, helping doctors decide optimum doses for their patients.
“AARA/Bendcare recognize the importance of adopting new technologies that have good scientific evidence behind them,” Thierry Dervieux, chief scientific officer of Exagen, said in a news release. “They understand that any patient starting or being maintained on methotrexate or hydroxychloroquine therapy and not having an adequate response will benefit from these tests.”
In addition to the treatment-monitoring tests, Exagen has developed a blood-collection device called AVISE Touch.
“With the January launch of our novel AVISE Touch capillary blood collection method, we have eliminated the need for venipuncture blood draw which is a major hurdle for many patients,” said Ron Rocca, Exagen’s chief executive officer. “Physicians are likely to welcome this advanced approach to optimizing methotrexate given new patient outcome measures being observed by healthcare payers of all types.”
Howard Busch, the president of AARA, said there are at least six rheumatology applications for AVISE Touch. The collection kit empowers both rheumatologists and patients in their quest for disease remission, Exagen said.
Busch said that “as clinicians in the 21st century, acquiring this ability to monitor compliance or simply identify DMARD [disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs’] therapeutic thresholds will add to our ability to improve the outcome of our patients which can potentially reduce resource utilization and ultimately cost.”
“We see tools like AVISE therapeutic drug monitoring as imperative in the treatment of Rheumatic diseases. Testing levels of widely prescribed drugs like methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine allows physicians to optimize therapeutic outcomes before abandoning DMARDs.” said Michael Graven, a Bendcare vice president.