Sustained long-term benefits of patient support program participation in immune-mediated diseases: improved medication-taking behavior and lower risk of a hospital visit

J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2021 Apr 12;1-11. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2021.20560.Online ahead of print.

A Mark Fendrick 1, Diana Brixner 2, David T Rubin 3, Philip Mease 4, Harry Liu 5, Matthew Davis 6, Manish Mittal 7


Author information

  • 1University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
  • 2University of Utah College of Pharmacy, Salt Lake City, UT.
  • 3University of Chicago Medicine Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, Chicago, IL.
  • 4Swedish Medical Center/Providence St. Joseph Health and University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA.
  • 5RAND Corporation, Boston, MA.
  • 6Medicus Economics, LLC, Milton, MA.
  • 7AbbVie Inc., North Chicago, IL.


BACKGROUND: Patient support programs (PSPs) improve medication-taking behavior in the first 12 months of treatment for patients with immune-mediated diseases, but it is unknown if these benefits are sustained. As immune-mediated diseases continue to increase in prevalence and economic burden, understanding the potential value of PSPs in helping patients adhere to their long-term treatment plan and avoid costly hospital visits is crucial. Launched nationally in 2015, HUMIRA Complete (a PSP for adalimumab patients) provides an opportunity to study long-term effects of PSP participation, including the impact on medication-taking behavior and hospital visits. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the sustained relationship between PSP participation, long-term medication-taking behavior, and hospital visits. METHODS: A longitudinal, retrospective matched-cohort study was conducted of patients initiating adalimumab between January 2015 and February 2016 with or without enrolling in the PSP, using patient-level data from the HUMIRA Complete PSP linked with Symphony Health claims. The sample included adult, commercially insured patients diagnosed with an indicated disease who were biologic-naive and had data available for ≥ 6 months before and ≥ 12 months after initiating adalimumab. Adherence (proportion of days covered) and hospital visits were assessed at 12, 24, and 36 months for patients with sufficient follow-up data. Multivariable generalized models estimated differences between cohorts, controlling for baseline characteristics and hospital visits. Duration of persistence and time to a hospital visit were compared using Kaplan-Meier analyses. Hazard ratios were estimated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models. RESULTS: The matched cohort included 2,268 patients (1,134 per cohort), and patient attrition was similar across cohorts. The PSP cohort consistently demonstrated higher adalimumab adherence than the non-PSP cohort at 12 (64.8% vs. 50.1%, P < 0.0001; 29% greater), 24 (49.4% vs. 38.4%; P < 0.0001; 29% greater), and 36 (39.4% vs. 35.1%; P = 0.02; 12% greater) months. PSP participation was associated with a 30% lower hazard of discontinuation (P < 0.0001), and median duration of persistence was 4.8 months longer for the PSP cohort (13.2 vs. 8.4 months; P < 0.0001). The PSP cohort had lower rates of hospital visits at 12 (30% vs. 37%; P < 0.001; 19% lower), 24 (44% vs. 53%; P = 0.01; 17% lower), and 36 (55% vs. 65%; P < 0.01; 16% lower) months, and PSP participation was associated with a 25% lower hazard of a hospital visit (P< 0.0001). Median time to a hospital visit was 10.8 months longer for the PSP cohort (32.7 vs. 21.9 months; P < 0.0001). Findings were consistent across therapeutic areas: hazard of a hospital visit was 28%, 27%, and 37% lower for rheumatology, gastroenterology, and dermatology patients participating in the PSP (all P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with immune-mediated diseases receiving adalimumab and utilizing this PSP had improved long-term medication-taking behavior and lower risk of hospital visits, demonstrating the potential of PSPs to improve patient outcomes and lower the burden to the health care system. DISCLOSURES: Design, study conduct, and financial support for the study were provided by AbbVie Inc., which participated in the interpretation of data, review, and approval of the manuscript. Fendrick has received personal fees from Merck, AstraZeneca, Trizetto, Amgen, Lilly, AbbVie, Johnson & Johnson, and Sanofi; grants from the National Pharmaceutical Council, PhRMA, the Gary and Mary West Health Foundation, the states of New York and Michigan, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; and equity in Zansors, Sempre Health, Wellth, and V-BID Health. Brixner has received consulting fees from AbbVie, Novartis, Xcenda, Elevar Therapeutics, Sanofi, UCB Pharma, and the Millcreek Outcomes Group. Rubin has received consulting fees from AbbVie, Abgenomics, Allergan Inc., Amgen, Celgene Corporation, Forward Pharma, Genentech/Roche, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co., Miraca Life Sciences, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Development America, Napo Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Salix Pharmaceuticals Inc., Samsung Bioepis, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, Shire, Takeda, and Target Pharmaceuticals; and research support from AbbVie, Genentech/Roche, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Prometheus Laboratories, Shire, Takeda, and UCB Pharma. Mease has received grant/research support from AbbVie, Amgen, BMS, Celgene, Janssen, Lilly, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, SUN Pharma, and UCB; consulting fees from AbbVie, Amgen, BMS, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, Galapagos, Genentech, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, SUN Pharma, and UCB; and has served on the speakers bureau for AbbVie, Amgen, Celgene, Janssen, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, and UCB. Liu has no financial conflict of interest. Davis is an employee of Medicus Economics, which received payment from AbbVie to participate in this research. Mittal is an employee and stockholder of AbbVie. This study used a cohort of patients previously described in Brixner D, Rubin DT, Mease P, et al. Patient support program increased medication adherence with lower total health care costs despite increased drug spending. J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2019 Jul;25(7):770-79 (doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2019.18443). As such, the sample selection and select baseline characteristics and 12-month outcomes have been published previously; however, the hospital visit outcomes and the longer-term medication-taking behavior outcomes have not been previously published or presented.

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