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Two Arthritis Drugs Found to be Cost-Effective

Etanercept, adalimumab are more so than infliximab for rheumatoid arthritis patients

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors etanercept and adalimumab are more likely to be cost-effective for treating rheumatoid arthritis in the Medicare population than infliximab, according to research published in the April Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Allan J. Wailoo, Ph.D., of the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, United Kingdom, and colleagues developed a model to compare the costs and quality-adjusted life years of etanercept, adalimumab, anakinra and infliximab, which can be considered standard treatment under Medicare Part B. The researchers used data from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials as well as from a database of patient self-reported information.

According to their work, anakinra is the least costly but also least effective option. Etanercept and adalimumab were roughly equal in effectiveness to infliximab but at a lower cost.

"Future work that considers sequential biologic use, early cessation of treatment in poor responders, and subgroup analyses will be valuable in identifying the most cost-effective use of biologic DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) in the Medicare population. With the recent licensing of abatacept and rituximab, the latter of which is licensed for use after a TNF inhibitor has failed, assessment of the cost-effectiveness of sequential strategies is likely to be particularly important," the authors write.

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