The economics of treatment in early rheumatoid arthritis

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Feb;23(1):83-92. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2008.11.005.


Recent years have witnessed a shift in the therapeutic approach for patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The focus of interest has been the improved outcomes achieved through the use of early aggressive disease-modifying therapy, including the use of biologic agents. Such strategies have acquisition costs which typically exceed those of older anti-rheumatic strategies. However, improved outcomes might lead to fewer hospitalizations and physician visits and improved employability, leading to future cost savings. This is in addition to the health benefits which patients value as improvements in quality of life. With many services competing to spend often limited health-care budgets, information on the relative benefits and costs of new approaches for treating RA can be useful in deciding on efficient allocation and treatment decisions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / economics*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans


  • Antirheumatic Agents