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08-04-2013 | Immunology | Article

Etanercept reaps workplace benefits


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medwireNews: The cost of treatment with the tumor necrosis factor inhibitor etanercept is offset by increased ability to work, suggests a study of US patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

In addition, "the beneficial clinical impact of the drug also had a positive effect on functioning in or around the home," report Devon Hone (McKesson Specialty, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and co-workers.

Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire (WPAI) responses for 153 patients who took etanercept between January 2009 and March 2010 showed a significant decrease in the percentage of patients with work impairment, from 41.9% at baseline to 25.2% after 6 months,

In addition, the rate of absenteeism fell from 8.4% to 2.3%, impairment at work from 38.9% to 24.3%, and activity impairment from 55.7% to 30.9%. All improvements were statistically significant.

By comparison, 51 patients who also initiated treatment but discontinued etanercept achieved only a significant improvement in overall work impairment at the 6-month check up.

As reported in Arthritis Care and Research, the team calculated that the patients who continued etanercept would achieve a 12-month gain in work productivity of 284.5 hours. Depending on income, this increased ability to work would partially or completely offset the estimated US$ 20,190 (€ 15,598) annual cost of etanercept treatment, Hone et al report.

The benefits of treatment extended beyond the workplace, with patients who continued etanercept also showing a significant improvement in the ability to complete tasks at home, such as cleaning and shopping, from 41.5% at baseline to 69.6% at 6 months. There was also a corresponding increase in satisfaction with domestic productivity.

Although patients who discontinued treatment also experienced a significant gain in these parameters, the improvement was smaller.

"From an employer perspective, this study demonstrates that depending on income levels, the cost of initiating etanercept treatment in workers with RA is partially or completely offset by their resulting increased productivity," the researchers conclude.

By Lynda Williams, Senior medwireNews Reporter

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