Objective: To evaluate, from a societal perspective, the incremental cost-effectiveness of withdrawing tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) treatment compared to continuation of these drugs within a 1-year, randomized trial among rheumatoid arthritis patients with longstanding, stable disease activity or remission. Methods: Data were collected from a pragmatic, open-label trial. Cost-utility analysis was performed using the nonparametric bootstrapping method, and a cost-effectiveness acceptability curve was constructed using the net-monetary benefit framework, where a willingness-to-accept threshold (WTA) was defined as the minimal cost saved that a patient accepted for each quality-adjusted life year (QALY) lost. Results: A total of 531 patients were randomized to the stop group and 286 patients to the continuation group. Withdrawal of TNFi treatment resulted in a >60% reduction of the total drug cost, but led to an increase of ∼30% in other health care expenditures. Compared to continuation, stopping TNFi resulted in a mean yearly cost saving of €7,133 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] €6,071, €8,234]) and was associated with a mean loss of QALYs of 0.02 (95% CI 0.002, 0.040). Mean saved cost per QALY lost and per extra flare incurred in the stop group compared to the continuation group was €368,269 (95% CI €155,132, €1,675,909) and €17,670 (95% CI €13,650, €22,721), respectively. At a WTA of €98,438 per QALY lost, the probability that stopping TNFi treatment is cost-effective was 100%. Conclusion: Although an official WTA is not defined, the mean saved cost of €368,269 per QALY lost seems acceptable in The Netherlands, given existing data on willingness to pay.
the Dutch National POET Collaboration (2018). An Economic Evaluation of Stopping Versus Continuing Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor Treatment in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients With Disease Remission or Low Disease Activity: Results From a Pragmatic Open-Label Trial. Arthritis and Rheumatology, 70(10), 1557-1564. https://doi.org/10.1002/art.40546