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Costs of rituximab maintenance treatment in patients with refractory rheumatoid arthritis
  1. A Risselada1,
  2. J Tekstra1,
  3. Y K Teng2,
  4. P M J Welsing1,
  5. F Breedveld2,
  6. J M van Laar2,
  7. J W J Bijlsma1
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to J W J Bijlsma, Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology (F02.127), University Medical Center Utrecht, PO Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands; j.w.j.bijlsma{at}

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Rituximab, an anti-CD20 antibody targeting B cells, has been approved as treatment for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) failing treatment with tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα) inhibitors.1 Reports from France, Sweden and the UK stated that rituximab as second line maintenance treatment has lower treatment costs with quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gains compared to second line TNF inhibitors.2,,4 Annual medical costs were estimated to be 31% lower for the rituximab strategy (ie, €11.444 and €16.555, respectively).2 However, these investigators used a modelling approach, since the medical and non-medical costs for patients treated with rituximab have not yet been measured.

In the present study, we analysed medical and non-medical costs of rituximab maintenance treatment for a period of 2 years. Patients were participants of a two-centre non-randomised open-label pilot study investigating the safety …

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  • Funding This study was supported by an unrestricted grant of Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.

  • Competing interests Hoffmann-La Roche provided free supplies of rituximab for the patients included in the study.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the METC (Ethics Committee) of Leiden University Medical Center and Univerity Medical Center Utrecht.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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