, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 45-60,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 21 Dec 2012

Cost-Effectiveness of Infliximab for the Treatment of Acute Exacerbations of Ulcerative Colitis in the Netherlands



Infliximab is registered for the treatment of moderate-to-severe active ulcerative colitis (UC) adult patients who have had an inadequate response, or are intolerant, or have medical contraindications to therapy including corticosteroids and 5-aminosalicylates or thiopurines (6-mercaptopurine [6-MP] or azathioprine [AZA]). The authors estimate the costs and effects and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of infliximab at the licensed dose of 5 mg/kg versus cyclosporine or surgery for the treatment of adult Dutch patients hospitalized with acute exacerbations of UC, refractory to intravenous steroids.


An existing decision analytical model was updated to simulate disease progression of hospitalized UC patients in the Netherlands, refractory to intravenous corticosteroids, and to estimate the costs and benefits associated with infliximab compared to cyclosporine and surgery over a 1-year time horizon. Colectomy rates were derived from infliximab and cyclosporine randomized trials and synthesized using multiple treatment comparison methods. The utility estimates associated with health states of ulcerative colitis patients were obtained from the literature. Resource use and drug use frequencies as well as unit costs were obtained from Dutch sources. The primary effectiveness measure used in the analysis was quality-adjusted life years (QALYs).


For a typical UC patient with body weight of 70 kg, the costs of treatment with infliximab, cyclosporine, and surgery over a 1-year treatment period were €17,062, €14,784, €13,979, respectively. The associated numbers of QALYs were 0.80, 0.70, and 0.58 for infliximab, cyclosporine, and surgery respectively. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for infliximab was €24,277 per QALY gained compared to cyclosporine, and €14,639 per QALY gained compared to surgery.


Infliximab induction regimen appears to be a cost-effective treatment option in comparison to cyclosporine and surgery for hospitalized patients with acute exacerbations of UC, refractory to intravenous corticosteroids in the Netherlands.