Costs of dose escalation among ulcerative colitis patients treated with adalimumab in Germany

  • Bernadette Pöllinger
  • Wolfgang Schmidt
  • Anna Seiffert
  • Heidi Imhoff
  • Martin Emmert
Original Paper



We determined adalimumab utilisation and associated drug costs in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), focusing on patients requiring dose escalation.


The retrospective cohort study analysed the de-identified prescription data of the Arvato Health Analytics (Munich, Germany) database (2010–2015) in adult UC patients undergoing adalimumab therapy.


A total of 154 patients were newly treated with adalimumab (average 39.6 years, 53% females), with a mean dose of 2.93 mg/day. Within 12 months, 69 patients (45%) received a dose increase of > 50% (doubled dose in 48 patients; 32%), with the escalation reported at 169.3 ± 99.3 days. A subsequent dose de-escalation to the standard dose occurred in 50 (32%) of patients that initially had a dose increase of > 50% (after 94.7 ± 49.6 days). Direct drug costs were 28,846 € in the overall study population, 24,934 € in patients on standard dose, 36,094 € in patients with dose increase, and 32,742 € in patients with increase and subsequent decrease.


Dose escalation occurred frequently, and in one third of patients the dose was at least doubled. Dose escalations were associated with substantial increases in direct drug costs. Dose escalation of adalimumab can severely affect both the health care system and the drug budget of the physician. It needs to be considered that other biologic medications may constitute a more cost-effective alternative.


Adalimumab Ulcerative colitis Drug utilisation Observational Economic analysis Direct drug costs 

JEL Classification




This study was funded by MSD Sharp & Dohme GmbH, Haar, Germany.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernadette Pöllinger
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Schmidt
    • 1
  • Anna Seiffert
    • 2
  • Heidi Imhoff
    • 1
  • Martin Emmert
    • 3
  1. 1.Market AccessMSD Sharp & Dohme GmbHHaarGermany
  2. 2.Gesundheitsforen Leipzig GmbHLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Versorgungsmanagement an der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-NürnbergNurembergGermany

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