Should patients in remission stop taking expensive rheumatoid arthritis drugs?

May 11, 2018, Wiley

Stopping expensive biological drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in patients who are in remission or who have low disease activity can save considerable costs, but it results in a small loss of quality-adjusted life years, according to a recent Arthritis & Rheumatology study.

In the study, stopping inhibitors in patients with stable low disease activity, on average, was associated with a cost saving of €7,133, a loss of 0.022 quality-adjusted life years, and an increase of 0.41 arthritis flares per patient per year.

"The subpopulation of patients receiving biological disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs including tumor necrosis factor inhibitors... has increased over time and accounted for up to 20% of the population of patients in various Western healthcare systems," the authors wrote.

Explore further: Obesity may hasten disability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

More information: An Tran-Duy et al, An Economic Evaluation of Stopping versus Continuing TNF-Inhibitor Treatment in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients in Remission or Low Disease Activity: results from the POET randomized trial, Arthritis & Rheumatology (2018). DOI: 10.1002/art.40546

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