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HUMIRA® (adalimumab) Data Show That Treating Early Rheumatoid Arthritis with Combination Treatment Resulted in Cost Savings From Improved Work Productivity


Rheumatoid Arthritis is the Leading Cause of Work Disability in Europe

New data announced today showed that treating patients with early, active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with Abbott’s (NYSE: ABT) HUMIRA® (adalimumab) and methotrexate (MTX) resulted in an indirect cost savings of €4,845 (or approximately USD$6,086 using exchange rates at the time of the study) per patient per year compared to MTX treatment alone. These cost savings were attributed to improved work performance, ability to gain or regain employment and a reduction in the number of missed workdays. A separate analysis found that joint damage in the early stages of RA is a predictor of a patient’s ability to gain or retain employment. These data were presented at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) annual meeting in Paris.

“While rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive and chronic disease, patients may be able to continue productive work lives with the help of treatment options such as adalimumab,” said Ronald F. van Vollenhoven, M.D., Ph.D., Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

More than five million people worldwide have RA, and most of them are considered to be in the prime of their working lives (between 30-50 years of age). The data are from DE032, an economic companion study to PREMIER, a two-year, randomized, double-blind, comparator-controlled study that compared the effectiveness of HUMIRA and MTX to MTX alone in treating early RA. At baseline, a total of 433 patients with early, active RA were identified, including 235 active, paid workers. Patients were evaluated on three measures: number of missed days of work due to RA, degree of work performance affected by RA and employment status.
The study found that:

* For paid and household workers, estimated indirect cost savings in patients with early RA treated with HUMIRA plus MTX (compared to MTX alone) were €4,845 (or approximately USD$6,086) per patient per year.
* Among paid workers only, indirect cost savings in patients treated with HUMIRA plus MTX were attributed as follows:
o 79 percent to improved work performance;
o 12 percent to the patient’s improved ability to gain or retain employment;
o 9 percent to the reduced number of missed workdays.

In a separate analysis of the same study, researchers identified that in patients with early RA treated with HUMIRA plus MTX, baseline joint damage (assessed by joint space narrowing, joint space erosion and total sharp score, or TSS) is an independent predictor of a patient’s ability to maintain or gain employment. TSS is a measure of joint damage progression. A smaller change in TSS reflects less progression of joint damage, with a positive score indicating worse radiographic damage. A total of 664 patients were included in this analysis, with average disease duration of eight months.
Key findings included:

* The likelihood of failing to gain or retain employment was significantly associated with baseline joint damage (extent of joint erosion and joint space narrowing), as measured by TSS at baseline (p-0.0001), as well as poor scores on other measures evaluating physical and mental well-being.
* The number of missed work days and degree of work performance were not associated with baseline joint damage.
* Missing work due to early RA was significantly associated with scores on the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), which evaluates the level of pain and disability caused by RA (p-0.0001). Therefore, those with better HAQ scores tended to miss less work.
* Performance at work was also significantly associated with HAQ scores (p-0.0001) in addition to other measures evaluating disease activity and physical and mental well-being. Again, those with better HAQ scores had improved performance while at work.


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