Patterns of anti-TNF use and associated treatment outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease patients: results from an analysis of Dutch health insurance claims data.

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Real-life patterns of anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) use remain largely unknown. We aimed to investigate survival rates, clinical outcomes and costs of anti-TNF agents in a large population of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).


Health insurance data from 22,082 IBD patients were provided by Achmea Healthcare. Time to anti-TNF discontinuation, treatment intensification, corticosteroid initiation and hospitalisation were analysed in patients starting on anti-TNF treatment from January 2008 until December 2014. Treatment regimens were analysed at different time points.


In this cohort, 855 and 1199 subjects started infliximab and adalimumab treatment, respectively. The median time to anti-TNF discontinuation was 600 days (IQR 156-1693). The proportion of subjects receiving intensified treatment increased over time (infliximab at 3 vs. 24 months: 22.2% vs. 33.6%, p = 0.01; adalimumab at 3 vs. 24 months: 10.5% vs. 19.3%, p < 0.001). Cessation of anti-TNF treatment was less common in Crohn's disease patients (HR 0.79, p = 0.001) and in patients receiving intensified treatment (HR 0.62, p = 0.001). Immunomodulator use was associated with a longer time to corticosteroid initiation (HR 0.80, p = 0.048), but not with longer drug survival (HR 0.99, p = 0.617). Hospitalisation was more common in Crohn's patients (HR 1.49, p = 0.011). Corticosteroid initiation was lower in Crohn's patients (HR 0.57, p < 0.001) and in patients using infliximab (HR 0.55, p < 0.001).


Discontinuation of anti-TNF therapy occurred earlier than previously reported and was associated with a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and non-intensified anti-TNF treatment. Immunomodulator use at the start of anti-TNF treatment was associated with a longer time to corticosteroid initiation, but not with longer drug survival.

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