Combination Therapy Associated with Treatment Persistence

Another large retrospective ‘real-world’ study (C Chen et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2019; 1417-27) examined persistence profiles of biologic therapies in newly diagnosed IBD patients.  This study, based on Truven Health MarketScan data (2008-2015) included 5612 patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) and 3533 with ulcerative colitis (UC). There were 1156 persons (20.6%) in the pediatric age range (0-18)

Key findings:

  • Less than half of the patients continued using their initial biologic treatment after 1 year (48.5% of CD cohort and 44.8% of UC cohort).
  • For infliximab (IFX) in the CD cohort, the 1 year continued rate was 47.6% and the 5 year rate was 20.0%. In the UC cohort, the rates were 44.9% and 15.7% respectively.
  • For adalimumab (ADA) in the CD cohort, the 1 year continued rate was 50.9% and the 5 year rate was 9.1%. In the UC cohort, the rates were 45.4% and 7.7% respectively.
  • Combination therapy with immunomodulators (IMM) significantly decreased the risk of discontinuation, especially if IMM was started more than 30 days before the biologic agent (HR 0.22).  Simultaneous starting had HR of 0.32.
  • The major predictors for noncompliance included infection and hospitalization.

Why did combination therapy result in higher medication persistence rates?

  • Potential reasons included improved efficacy by direct inflammatory effects and reduced drug antibodies to TNF antagonists.  It is possible that patients receiving combination therapy had more severe disease and thus less likely to discontinue therapy.

Limitation: This study may overestimate drug discontinuation as some patients may simply have had a dosing delay.

My take: This study shows a higher-than-expected rate of drug discontinuation indicating dissatisfaction related to efficacy, cost or complications. Those receiving immunomodulators (combination therapy) were much less likely to discontinue treatment.

Related blog posts:

Wizard Island, Crater Lake, OR

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition

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