Rituximab in combination with chemotherapy is a recommended regimen for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), which has been shown in randomized trials and real-world studies to provide a survival benefit compared with chemotherapy alone. Per the US Prescribing Information (USPI), rituximab is typically administered over 4–6 hours for the first infusion and 3–4 hours for subsequent infusions. A 90-minute infusion schedule for rituximab has been found to be safe and feasible in NHL patients who tolerate their first infusion administered at the standard rate and who do not have significant cardiovascular disease or high circulating lymphocytes. This study's primary objective was to assess the cost from a US societal perspective of faster 90-minute rituximab infusion vs the conventional 4–6 hour rituximab infusion.
Analyses were performed in accordance with best research guidelines of the International Society of Pharmacoeconomic Outcomes and Research. The target population was patients with previously untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) or follicular lymphoma (FL) who were scheduled to receive rituximab 375 mg/m2plus CHOP or CVP chemotherapy. Medical resources assessed were: chemotherapy administration, chemotherapy and pre-treatment drugs, and Grade 3/4 adverse events. Indirect costs include societal resources such as income foregone by patients and informal caregivers/spouses as a result of visit duration for infusion. Trial data were used to extract event rates of adverse events and duration of infusions, and patient drop-out rate by cycle. Prices for medical resources were obtained from publicly available Medicare Fee Schedules. Per capita hourly wage rates were extracted from statistics of the US Labor Department. Outcomes were costs per year for patients treated in the US and cost per infusion and per course of therapy in 2012 US dollars.
A projected 23,519 newly diagnosed DLBCL and FL patients comprise the target population. Estimated total direct medical cost for conventional infusion is $925,318,162 and $9,855,416 in foregone income for patients and caregivers. The 90-minute infusion reduced direct medical costs by $22,362,397 (2%) and foregone income for patients and caregivers by $5,115,629 (52%). The average cost savings were $359 per infusion and $2,119 per course. The most influential parameters were administration cost and patient foregone income due to time for infusions. The savings per course may be greater if infusion centers are able to spread fixed costs, e.g., overhead, among a greater number of patients resulting from increased capacity to schedule more patients.
The 90-minute rituximab infusion has been found to be a safe and feasible alternative to conventional rituximab infusion for patients with untreated DBLCL or FL. In an era of landmark legislation (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010) designed to address concerns about rising costs of healthcare and place more emphasis on patient-centered research, the faster rituximab infusion regimen offers direct medical savings and reduces foregone income to patients and caregivers.
Hornberger:Cedar Associates LLC: Employment; Genentech, A Member of the Roche Group: Research Funding. Off Label Use: Rituxan (Rituximab) - faster infusion is off-label. Dai:Cedar Associates: Employment; Genentech, Inc, A Member of the Roche Group: Research Funding. Goertz:Genentech, Inc, A Member of the Roche Group: Employment, Equity Ownership. Dawson:Genentech, A Member of the Roche Group: Employment, Equity Ownership. Reyes:Genentech, Inc, A Member of the Roche Group: Employment, Equity Ownership.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.