Scientists find most cost-effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

In a new study, researchers created a model to compare the cost-effectiveness of different types of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.

The research was conducted by a team from several institutions in Finland.

For some conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, it is difficult for patients to decide which treatment option is best for them.

Because there are several types of drugs available and because they have different costs, it is difficult to choose from among the options available.

To solve this problem, the team in this study created a model using real-world data to calculate which option is the most cost-effective.

Most of the patients in the study were female, and their median age was 56.

The researchers used their model to compare the four main options available to patients with rheumatoid arthritis:

Two types of anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapies and the drugs tocilizumab and abatacept. More than half of the patients had a treatment response to a TNF inhibitor.

The team also examined factors linked to these treatments, such as whether the therapies were given subcutaneously or intravenously, history of drug use, how patients responded to prior treatments, and other predictors of future outcomes.

Also included were indirect costs such as those associated with a disability pension or sick leave.

The team found that rituximab was the lowest cost option of those tested, but that changed when they added in costs linked to switching therapies and administration costs.

When such factors were included, the model showed anti-TNF agents to have the lowest costs and also the highest gains.

The lead author of the study is Saara Huoponen.

The study is published in the open-access journal PLOS One.

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