A new study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology suggests that recent advances in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis have prolonged patients’ lives but also increased healthcare costs.

For the study, investigators examined medical claims data from the National Health Insurance of Taiwan, identifying 29,352 new cases of rheumatoid arthritis from 2003-2016.

The life expectancy after rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis was 26.3 years, and the lifetime cost was estimated to be US $72,953 after disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs called biologics became available in 2003.

«After the availability of biologics, rheumatoid arthritis patients appeared to live longer with higher lifetime expenditures that should be monitored and evaluated for cost-effectiveness,» the authors wrote.

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