• Major cost savings associated with biologic dose reduction in patients with inflammatory arthritis.

      Murphy, C L; Awan, S; Sullivan, M O; Chavrimootoo, S; Bannon, C; Martin, L; Duffy, T; Murphy, E; Barry, M (Irish Medical Journal, 2015-01)
      The purpose of this study was to explore whether patients with Inflammatory Arthritis (IA) (Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) or Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)) would remain in remission following a reduction in biologic dosing frequency and to calculate the cost savings associated with dose reduction. This prospective non-blinded non-randomised study commenced in 2010. Patients with Inflammatory Arthritis being treated with a biologic agent were screened for disease activity. A cohort of those in remission according to standardized disease activity indices (DAS28 < 2.6, BASDAI < 4) was offered a reduction in dosing frequency of two commonly used biologic therapies (etanercept 50 mg once per fortnight instead of weekly, adalimumab 40 mg once per month instead of fortnightly). Patients were assessed for disease activity at 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months following reduction in dosing frequency. Cost saving was calculated. 79 patients with inflammatory arthritis in remission were recruited. 57% had rheumatoid arthritis (n = 45), 13% psoriatic arthritis (n = 10) and 30% ankylosing spondylitis (n = 24). 57% (n = 45) were taking etanercept and 43% (n = 34) adalimumab. The percentage of patients in remission at 24 months was 56% (n = 44). This resulted in an actual saving to the state of approximately 600,000 euro over two years. This study demonstrates the reduction in biologic dosing frequency is feasible in Inflammatory Arthritis. There was a considerable cost saving at two years. The potential for major cost savings in biologic usage should be pursued further.