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Journal of Crohn's and Colitis: 9 (8)


Laurence J. Egan, Ireland

Associate Editors

Maria T. Abreu, USAShomron Ben-Horin, IsraelSilvio Danese, ItalyPeter Lakatos, HungaryMiles Parkes, UKGijs van den Brink, NLSéverine Vermeire, Belgium


Published on behalf of

Economic impact of combination therapy with infliximab plus azathioprine for drug-refractory Crohn's disease: A cost-effectiveness analysis

Shota Saito, Utako Shimizu, Zhang Nan, Nozomu Mandai, Junji Yokoyama, Kenshi Terajima, Kouhei Akazawa
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crohns.2012.04.007 167-174 First published online: 1 March 2013


Background: Combination therapy with infliximab (IFX) and azathioprine (AZA) is significantly more effective for treatment of active Crohn's disease (CD) than IFX monotherapy. However, AZA is associated with an increased risk of lymphoma in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Aim: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of combination therapy with IFX plus AZA for drug-refractory CD.

Methods: A decision analysis model is constructed to compare, over a time horizon of 1 year, the cost-effectiveness of combination therapy with IFX plus AZA and that of IFX monotherapy for CD patients refractory to conventional non-anti-TNF-α therapy. The treatment efficacy, adverse effects, quality-of-life scores, and treatment costs are derived from published data. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses are performed to estimate the uncertainty in the results.

Results: The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of combination therapy with IFX plus AZA is 24,917 GBP/QALY when compared with IFX monotherapy. The sensitivity analyses reveal that the utility score of nonresponding active disease has the strongest influence on the cost-effectiveness, with ICERs ranging from 17,147 to 45,564 GBP/QALY. Assuming that policy makers are willing to pay 30,000 GBP/QALY, the probability that combination therapy with IFX plus AZA is cost-effective is 0.750.

Conclusions: Combination therapy with IFX plus AZA appears to be a cost-effective treatment for drug-refractory CD when compared with IFX monotherapy. Furthermore, the additional lymphoma risk of combination therapy has little significance on its cost-effectiveness.

  • Azathioprine
  • Combination therapy
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Crohn's disease
  • Infliximab
  • Lymphoma
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