Novel oral treatments (including biologics) of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are emerging. Apart from improvement of health, treatment convenience may be of value to patients. This ‘process utility’ can be estimated under the quality-of-life framework. We investigated the process utility associated with subcutaneous and intravenous biologic treatments compared with a hypothetical oral biologic treatment of IBD.Materials and methods
A time trade-off study to estimate utilities for health states among adult patients with IBD was carried out. Respondents rated the anchor state (no description of the route of administration; the reference) and three states described: the once-daily oral, 2-weekly subcutaneous, and 8-weekly intravenous administration of biologic treatment for advanced IBD.Results
Data from 127 respondents (age, 34.4 years; women, 52.9%) were collected. The oral state was valuated higher than the anchor state more frequently than subcutaneous and intravenous states (P=0.001). The process utility of the oral state adjusted for confounders was estimated at 0.147 (95% confidence interval: 0.087–0.208) and 0.164 (95% confidence interval: 0.096–0.233) in comparison with subcutaneous and intravenous states, respectively. The results were consistent across the respondents irrespective of their characteristics and unaffected by the change in the assumptions of data analysis.Conclusion
Oral administration is preferred over the available routes of administration of biologics by patients with IBD. The utility gains from oral treatment were significant, indicating higher value of that treatment within a cost-utilitarian approach. The additional process-related benefit can justify higher expenditures for the research of oral biologics.