Should patients in remission stop taking expensive Rheumatoid Arthritis drugs?

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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