Clinical Outcomes Associated with Switching or Discontinuation from Anti-TNF Inhibitors for Nonmedical Reasons

Clinical Therapeutics. Apr 2017;39(4):849-862 e846


This study evaluated clinical outcomes and health care resource utilization associated with nonmedical switching from or discontinuation of anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapies in US clinical practice.


Responding physicians extracted data from the medical charts of patients with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, or psoriatic arthritis who achieved response on an anti-TNF therapy. Physicians selected 2 cohorts of patients that were matched on diagnosis: patients who were switched/discontinued, for nonmedical reasons, from the anti-TNF therapy on which they achieved response (switchers/discontinuers), and patients who continued on their anti-TNF (continuers). Switchers/discontinuers were followed up for 12 months from the date of discontinuation (index date); continuers were followed up for 12 months from the date of an office visit within 2 months of the matched switcher/discontinuer׳s index date. Multivariate regression was used to compare disease flares, disease control, and health care resource utilization between cohorts, with adjustment for baseline characteristics. Subgroup analyses compared data from the continuer cohort to those from (1) patients who were switched to another biologic therapy and (2) patients who were switched to conventional therapy or discontinued from all therapy.


A total of 377 matched pairs of continuers and switchers/discontinuers were analyzed (N = 754), with the latter cohort comprising 284 patients (73.3%) who were and 93 (24.7%) who did not switch to another treatment (biologic or conventional treatment) immediately after discontinuation. Switchers/discontinuers had more frequent flares than did continuers, across severity levels (adjusted incidence rate ratios = 1.67, 2.36, and 3.48 for mild, moderate, and severe flares, respectively; all, P < 0.05). Switchers/discontinuers had a lower rate of well-controlled disease symptoms (46.9% vs 88.1%; adjusted odds ratio = 0.11; P < 0.001). Switchers/discontinuers also had more frequent inpatient hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and outpatient visits (adjusted incidence rate ratios = 3.58, 5.73, and 1.12, respectively; all, P < 0.001). Findings from the subgroup analyses of data from the 183 patients who switched to a biologic therapy and 194 who switched to conventional therapy or discontinued from all therapy were largely consistent with the overall analysis.


In this study, switching/discontinuation from an anti-TNF therapy for nonmedical reasons was associated with significantly worse clinical outcomes and increased health care resource utilization-factors that should be considered when developing treatment algorithms.

View abstract


Wolf D, Skup M, Yang H, Fang AP, Kageleiry A, Chao J, Mittal M, Lebwohl M