How Do Home Infusions Stack Up?

One of the advantages of infusions in the office (or hospital) compared to home infusions and home injections is close communication by those giving the infusion with the physician.  In addition, with each infusion, in these settings offers an opportunity to review the patient’s progress and adjust the patients orders.  A recent study (Fenster M, et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019;10.1016/cgh.2019.03.030.) indicates that these advantages may make infusions more successful than infusions given at home.

A summary is offered by Healio Gastroenterology: Home biologic infusions in IBD suffer from lack of monitoring

Researchers conducted a matched retrospective cohort study of patients treated with infliximab or vedolizumab with home infusion (n = 69) compared with hospital infusion at a large, tertiary care IBD center.  The primary endpoint was a composite of adverse outcomes, including stopping biologic therapy, IBD-related emergency department visit or IBD-related hospitalization.

  • “Patients on home infusion were more likely to experience adverse outcomes compared with control patients (43.5% vs. 21.7%; P = .006), and they also had a shorter time to adverse outcomes than patients who got hospital infusions.”
  • “Patients with home infusions trended toward stopping therapy within 1 year (20.3% vs. 8.7%; P = .053) and stopping therapy within the complete follow-up window (27.5% vs. 15.9%; P = .099) compared with controls.”
  • Patients with home infusions had “more emergency department visits (30.4% vs. 7.2%, P < .001), they did not have significantly more hospitalizations (17.4% vs. 11.6%).”

The authors noted that the “increase in adverse events might have been related to a reduced level of monitoring observed in home infusion patients. In the year following home infusion initiation or matching, patients who persisted on home infusions had significantly fewer IBD clinic visits (1.23 vs. 1.75; P = .018) compared with controls.”

My take (borrowed from a previous post): In my experience, office-based infusions can be provided safely and in a cost-effective manner.  While the convenience and potential cost-savings of home-based infusion are desirable, before implementing broadly, issues regarding communication, safety protocols, and documentation to allow modifications in therapy need to be proactively addressed. These issues could affect a patient’s long-term response to biologic therapy.

Related blog posts:

 

Increasing Cost/Use of Biologic Therapies for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

As noted in a previous blog post (Changes in the Use of IBD Biologic Therapy), there has been an increased use of biologic therapy early in the course of patient’s with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Another retrospective study (H Yu et al AP&T 2018; 47: 364-70 -thanks to Ben Gold for this reference) examines the market share and costs of biologic therapy for IBD using the Truven Marketscan Commercial Claims and Encounters database (2007-2015).  This database consists of out-patient and in-patient pharmaceutical claims of approximately 40-50 million privately insured patients each year from patients from all 50 states (U.S.).

Key findings:

  • Among 415,405 patients with IBD (188,842 with Crohn’s, 195,183 with ulcerative colitis, 31,380 with indeterminate IBD), the proportion using biologics increased over the 9-year period (2007-2015); overall, the market share increase was from 7.1% (2007) to 20.5% (2015).
  • There were 28,797 pediatric patients with IBD (17,296 with Crohn’s, 9368 with ulcerative colitis, and 2133 with indeterminate colitis). The overall market share in pediatric patients was the highest, increasing from 19.1% to 45.9%.
  • For all patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) the proportion receiving biologic therapy increased from 21.8% to 43.8%.  For patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), the proportion increased from 5.1% to 16.2%.
  • Per-member per-year (PMPY) costs increased. “The average biologic-taking patient accounted for $25,275 PMPY in 2007 and $36,051 PMPY in 2015.”  This was similar in the pediatric population, going from $23,616 PMPY in 2007 to $41,109 PMPY in 2015.
  • The share of costs of medicines: the costs of biologics as a share of the total increased from 72.9% in 2007 to 85.7% in 2015. 95% of the pharmacy costs in children with IBD are attributed to biologics.

My take: This trend of increasing use of biologics and their associated costs is going to continue due to their effectiveness. While there are direct costs related to these medications, the net cost is unclear as they can prevent hospitalizations and surgeries. In addition, by helping to spare corticosteroids and increasing response rates, biologic therapies improve quality of life, minimize opportunity loss, and optimize long-term health outcomes.

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