Should patients in remission stop taking expensive Rheumatoid Arthritis drugs?

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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 tumor necrosis factor 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 rheumatoid arthritis patients in various Western healthcare systems," the authors wrote.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.40546

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