Advances in Therapy

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 410–425 | Cite as

Treatment Patterns Following Discontinuation of Adalimumab, Etanercept, and Infliximab in a US Managed Care Sample

  • Jason Yeaw
  • Crystal Watson
  • Kathleen M. Fox
  • Vernon F. Schabert
  • Seth Goodman
  • Shravanthi R. Gandra
Original Research



Because clinical guidelines do not offer clear recommendations for treatment options after discontinuing a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker, this study evaluated treatment patterns within 360 days after discontinuation of TNF-blocker treatment.


The IMS LifeLink Health Plan Claims database was used to identify patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis who received etanercept, adalimumab, or infliximab between January 1, 2005 and March 31, 2009. Discontinuation from index (first) TNF blocker was defined as switching to a different TNF blocker or a >45-day gap in therapy. Patients were categorized into mutually exclusive groups in descending order: (a) restart of index TNF blocker; (b) switch to another TNF blocker; (c) switch to a different biologic; (d) switch to nonbiologic therapy; or (e) no new treatment.


Among 27,704 patients who initiated TNF-blocker therapy, 14,707 (53%) patients discontinued treatment over 1–3 years of follow-up. Within 360 days of discontinuing index TNF blocker, 53.4% of patients restarted index therapy: etanercept 59.9%, adalimumab 46.5%, and infliximab 43.1% (P < 0.001 for etanercept vs. adalimumab and infliximab). The majority of therapy restarts occurred within the first 3 months after discontinuation. Other patients switched to another TNF blocker: etanercept 17.1%, adalimumab 19.1% (P = 0.010 vs. etanercept), and infliximab 15.0% (P = 0.009 vs. etanercept). Switches from index TNF blocker to non-TNF-blocker biologic therapy were low: etanercept 1.9%, adalimumab 4.1%, and infliximab 10.7% (P < 0.001 for etanercept vs. adalimumab and infliximab). Switches from index TNF blocker to nonbiologic treatments were 5.4% for etanercept, 6.5% for adalimumab, and 6.9% for infliximab.


Restarting of index TNF-blocker therapy occurs frequently after discontinuation, suggesting that long gaps in TNF-blocker therapy may be common. A significantly higher proportion of etanercept patients restarted their index TNF blocker within 3 months of discontinuation, compared with adalimumab and infliximab patients.


Adalimumab Ankylosing spondylitis Dermatology Etanercept Infliximab Psoriasis Psoriatic arthritis Rheumatology Rheumatoid arthritis Tumor necrosis factor blocker 



Sponsorship and article processing charges for this study was funded by Immunex, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen Inc. (California, USA). Medical writing assistance for this study was provided by Edward Mancini of Amgen Inc. and Julia R. Gage of Gage Medical Writing, LLC. This was funded by Amgen Inc. (California, USA). All named authors meet the ICMJE criteria for authorship for this manuscript, take responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole, and have given final approval of the version to be published.

Conflict of interest

S.R. Gandra is an employee and shareholder of Amgen Inc.

C. Watson is a former employee and shareholder of Amgen Inc.

K. Fox is an employee of Strategic Healthcare Solutions, LLC, which received funding for the study from Amgen Inc.

V. Schabert is an employee of IMS Health, which received funding for the study from Amgen Inc.

J. Yeaw is an employee of IMS Health, which received funding for the study from Amgen Inc.

S. Goodman is an employee of IMS Health, which received funding for the study from Amgen Inc.

Compliance with ethics guidelines

The analysis in this article is based on data obtained from patient records in a commercial claims database and no human or animal subjects were used in the study.

Supplementary material

12325_2014_110_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 23 kb)
12325_2014_110_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (206 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 205 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Healthcare 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason Yeaw
    • 1
  • Crystal Watson
    • 2
  • Kathleen M. Fox
    • 3
  • Vernon F. Schabert
    • 1
  • Seth Goodman
    • 1
  • Shravanthi R. Gandra
    • 2
  1. 1.Health Economics and Outcomes ResearchIMS HealthAlexandriaUSA
  2. 2.Global Health EconomicsAmgen Inc.Thousand OaksUSA
  3. 3.Strategic Healthcare Solutions, LLCMonktonUSA

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