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The effects of a 12-week treatment with modified-release prednisone (MR-pred) on the costs of drug treatment of RA were modelled. With the results of a recent randomized trial as source data, we expressed the effect of treatment (MR-pred vs placebo) on the decrease in the proportion of RA patients meeting disease activity thresholds for reimbursement of biologic treatment. The results showed 11-13% more patients on MR-pred than on placebo dropped below reimbursement thresholds for The Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. Assuming 1 year of biologics cost €15,000 and MR-pred costs €1/day, €396 are saved in each patient delaying biologic treatment by 12 weeks. Despite a considerably higher cost than conventional prednisone, MR-pred is a cost-effective option for RA patients not on glucocorticoids who are eligible for therapy with biologic agents.


Maarten Boers, Frank Buttgereit. A simple model that suggests possible cost savings when modified-release prednisone 5 mg/day is added to current treatment in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology (Oxford, England). 2013 Aug;52(8):1435-7

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PMID: 23584366

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