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Objective. To identify costs among rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients receiving alternative disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) therapies. Methods. Using managed care organization data, we identified members who (a) were prescribed any DMARD therapy for two consecutive months between July 1993 and February 1998, (b) were aged ≥18 years, (c) had ≥6 months of DMARD-free enrollment prior to the first DMARD, and (d) had a diagnosis of RA. Results. The average age of the cohort (n = 571) was 51 years, and 70% were women. Mean duration of enrollment following initiation of DMARD therapy (observation period) was 19.5 months; 28.8% of patients switched DMARD regimens. The average monthly cost of care was $853, of which $294 (34%) was for RA-coded medical services. Monthly RA-coded costs varied by DMARD: hydroxychloroquine $227 (n = 252), methotrexate $340 (n = 185); sulfasalazine $233 (n = 49), and other mono/combination therapy $425 (n = 85) (P = 0.001). Conclusion. Costs of RA-coded care in patients receiving DMARDs are low and vary by DMARD.


Journal article


Arthritis Care and Research

Publication Date





213 - 226