Systematic review: Cost-effective strategies of optimizing anti-tumor necrosis and immunomodulators in inflammatory bowel disease

Abhinav Vasudevan, Peter R. Gibson, Daniel R. Van Langenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Medication costs in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are now the principal driver of health care costs. Cost-effective strategies to optimize and rationalize treatment are therefore necessary. METHODS: A systematic review until April 30, 2018, was performed to identify economic evaluations of strategies to optimize infliximab, adalimumab, and immunomodulators for the treatment of IBD in adults. A qualitative synthesis of the identified studies was performed. RESULTS: Seventy articles were identified that met the inclusion criteria. Adalimumab seems cost-effective compared with infliximab as maintenance therapy for moderate to severe Crohn's disease (CD). Infusion costs are a significant additional treatment cost with infliximab. However, other studies found biosimilar infliximab more cost-effective than alternative biologics in fistulizing and moderate-severe luminal CD-although the latter did not reach a willingness-to-pay threshold of <$50,000. In moderate-severe ulcerative colitis, infliximab seems more cost-effective than adalimumab. Multiple tailored approaches to treatment based on objective markers of disease activity or efficacy have been shown to be cost-effective in CD, including following secondary loss of response to anti-TNF therapy for postoperative recurrence and in escalating treatment. For immunomodulator treatment, both thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) testing before commencing thiopurines and thiopurine metabolite testing for dose optimization seem cost-effective. CONCLUSION: In a win-win for patients and payers, several potential avenues to achieve cost-effectiveness-but also therapeutic optimization of anti-TNF therapies-were elucidated in this review with comparatively sparse data for immunomodulators. Optimizing immunomodulator and anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha therapy to achieve objective disease control seems to be cost-effective at conventional willingness-to-pay thresholds in a number of clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1462-1473
Number of pages12
JournalInflammatory Bowel Diseases
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2019


  • adalimumab
  • biologics
  • economic
  • infliximab
  • methotrexate
  • thiopurines

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