Long-term efficacy and cost-effectiveness of infliximab as first-line treatment in rheumatoid arthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis

Zsombor Zrubka, L. Gulácsi, Valentin Brodszky, Fanni Rencz, Rieke Alten, Z. Szekanecz, Márta Péntek

Research output: Review article


Introduction: Early biological treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may reverse the autoimmune response in some patients resulting in favorable long-term outcomes. Although the cost-effectiveness of this strategy has been questioned, biosimilar entries warrant the revision of clinical and pharmaco-economic evidence. Areas covered: We conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published up to 24 May 2018 in Pubmed, EMBASE and Cochrane CENTRAL, comparing infliximab with non-biological therapy in patients with RA naïve to methotrexate. We performed meta-analyses for efficacy outcomes at month 6 and years 1 and 2. Six RCTs were identified, involving 1832 patients. At month 6 ACR70 response and remission, and at year 1 ACR20/ACR70 responses and remission were improved significantly with first-line infliximab versus control. The differences were not significant at year 2. We reviewed cost-utility studies, up to 31 October 2018 in PubMed, Cochrane CENTRAL and the CRD HTA databases. Four studies indicated that first-line use of originator infliximab calculated at 2005–2008 prices was not cost-effective. Expert opinion: We demonstrated the efficacy benefits of first-line infliximab therapy up to 1 year in methotrexate-naïve RA. We highlighted the need for standardized reporting of outcomes and conducting cost-effectiveness analyses of first-line biosimilar therapy in RA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-549
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Review of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - szept. 3 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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