Adalimumab, etanercept, and infliximab utilization patterns and drug costs among rheumatoid arthritis patients

Janssen Scientific Affairs , LLC, Horsham, PA 19044, USA.
Journal of Medical Economics (Impact Factor: 1.58). 12/2011; 15(2):332-9. DOI: 10.3111/13696998.2011.649325
Source: PubMed


To evaluate the utilization patterns of the anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents Humira (adalimumab), Enbrel (etanercept), and Remicade (infliximab) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and compare medication costs during the first year of treatment. (Humira is a registered trademark of Abbott Laboratories, IL; Enbrel is a registered trademark of Immunex Corporation, CA; and Remicade is a registered trademark of Janssen Biotech, Inc., PA).
This retrospective analysis of medical and pharmacy claims included patients who were aged ≥18 years, had ≥2 RA diagnosis codes, and had ≥365 days of persistence with the index anti-TNF. Patients excluded had claims for anti-TNF agents within 6 months before the index date. Refill patterns for adalimumab and etanercept, number of infliximab infusions, time between infusions, and dose per infusion were analyzed for 12 months. Direct anti-TNF medication costs were compared among anti-TNFs for the initial treatment year.
Infliximab-treated patients (n = 457) were significantly older than adalimumab- (n = 337) or etanercept-treated patients (n = 902). Time between refills was longer than recommended for 28% and 30% of adalimumab and etanercept refill periods, respectively. Potential cumulative time without therapy was 33 days for adalimumab and 43 days for etanercept. Statistically significant differences in mean per-patient anti-TNF medication costs for the first year were reported for adalimumab, etanercept, and infliximab ($14,991, $13,361, and $18,139, respectively; p < 0.0001); however, a cost assessment using labeled dosing of the anti-TNF agents with optimal treatment compliance yielded comparable annual medication costs.
This analysis only evaluated utilization patterns for selected anti-TNF agents and was not inclusive of other medications that patients may have been using for RA. Absolute patient adherence could not be assessed due to lack of information on how patients were self-administering adalimumab and etanercept or if samples of the agents were made available.
This study identified gaps in patients' refills compared with prescriber recommendations. The infliximab-treated group had infusion patterns consistent with prescribing information. Potential clinical and economic implications of dose attenuation with adalimumab and etanercept should be explored further.

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