Cost-effectiveness of salmeterol/fluticasone propionate combination product 50/250 microg twice daily and budesonide 800 microg twice daily in the treatment of adults and adolescents with asthma. International Study Group

B Lundbäck, C Jenkins, M J Price, R M Thwaites
Respiratory Medicine 2000, 94 (7): 724-32
Despite a good understanding of the disease and its treatments, asthma continues to place a large economic burden on healthcare systems. As such, it is important to consider the economic impact of alternative therapeutic options for the treatment of this condition to ensure that scarce resources are used in the most efficient manner possible. Thus, the aim of asthma management from an economic perspective is to reduce the burden of this disease through maximizing health gain with available resources. A prospective economic analysis was conducted as part of a multicentre, randomized, double-blind, comparative trial of salmeterol/fluticasone propionate combination product (SFC) 50/250 microg twice daily vs. budesonide (800 microg twice daily) in adults and adolescents with asthma who were symptomatic despite treatment with inhaled corticosteroids at doses of 800-1200 microg day(-1). Treatment effectiveness was measured in terms of successfully-treated weeks, defined as a > or =5% improvement in morning peak expiratory flow, episode-free days (a day without the need for rescue medication, no nocturnal awakening or adverse events) and symptom-free days. Cost-effectiveness analyses were performed using direct healthcare and drug costs, from the perspective of the Swedish healthcare system (1998 prices), with appropriate sensitivity analyses to test the robustness of the findings. Overall, SFC produced significantly higher (P<0.001) proportions of successfully-treated weeks, episode-free days and symptom-free days. Direct asthma management costs were similar between the two groups [SEK19.6 ($US2.4) for SFC vs. SEK18.5 (SUS2.2) for budesonide]. The cost per successfully-treated week was lower for SFC than for budesonide [SEK204 ($US24.8) vs. SEK300 ($US36.4) per week], as were the costs per episode-free day [SEK51.1 ($US6.2) vs. SEK75.1 ($US9.1) per day] and symptom-free day [SEK42.2 ($US5.1) vs. SEK53.0 ($US6.4) per day]. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios showed that the additional costs to achieve additional benefits with SFC were minimal. Costs per additional successfully-treated week, symptom-free day and episode-free day with SFC were SEK31.6 ($US3.9), SEK9.2 ($US1.1) and SEK7.7 ($US0.9), respectively, relative to budesonide. Sensitivity analysis showed that the results were stable over a wide range of assumptions. The results suggest that SFC is a more cost-effective treatment than budesonide in the management of moderate to severe asthma.

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