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16-10-2017 | Rheumatoid arthritis | Article

Treatment Persistence and Healthcare Costs Among Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Changing Biologics in the USA

Advances in Therapy

Authors: Benjamin Chastek, Chieh-I Chen, Clare Proudfoot, Shraddha Shinde, Andreas Kuznik, Wenhui Wei

Publisher: Springer Healthcare


After a patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) fails tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) treatment, clinical guidelines support either cycling to another TNFi or switching to a different mechanism of action (MOA), but payers often require TNFi cycling before they reimburse switching MOA. This study examined treatment persistence, cost, and cost per persistent patient among MOA switchers versus TNFi cyclers.
This study of Commercial and Medicare Advantage claims data from the Optum Research Database included patients with RA and at least one claim for a TNFi (adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab, or infliximab) between January 2012 and September 2015 who changed to another TNFi or a different MOA therapy (abatacept, tocilizumab, or tofacitinib) within 1 year. The index date was the date of the change in therapy. Treatment persistence was defined as no subsequent switch or 60-day gap in therapy for 1 year post-index. RA-related costs included plan-paid and patient-paid amounts for inpatient, outpatient, and pharmacy claims. Medication costs included index and post-index costs of TNFi and different MOA therapies.
There were 581 (38.3%) MOA switchers and 935 (61.7%) TNFi cyclers. The treatment persistence rate was significantly higher for MOA switchers versus TNFi cyclers (47.7% versus 40.2%, P = 0.004). Mean 1-year healthcare costs were significantly lower among MOA switchers versus TNFi cyclers for total RA-related costs ($37,804 versus $42,116; P < 0.001) and medication costs ($29,001 versus $34,917; P < 0.001). When costs were divided by treatment persistence, costs per persistent patient were lower among MOA switchers versus TNFi cyclers: $25,436 lower total RA-related cost and $25,999 lower medication costs.
MOA switching is associated with higher treatment persistence and lower healthcare costs than TNFi cycling. Reimbursement policies that require patients to cycle TNFi before switching MOA may result in suboptimal outcomes for both patients and payers.
Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

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