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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Cost-effectiveness analysis of cholesterol-lowering therapies in Spain

Pedro Plans-Rubió
American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs: Drugs, Devices, and Other Interventions 2006, 6 (3): 177-88
16780391

OBJECTIVE: To assess the cost efficacy of atorvastatin, simvastatin, lovastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, and colestyramine in the reduction of low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels and the cost per patient to achieve the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III) therapeutic objectives in Spain.

METHOD: The following treatments were evaluated: atorvastatin, simvastatin, and pravastatin 10-40 mg/day; lovastatin and fluvastatin 20-80 mg/day; and colestyramine 12-24 g/day. The cost effectiveness of these treatments was evaluated, in terms of cost per percentage of LDL-C reduction, by comparing annual treatment costs versus the efficacy of LDL-C reduction. Treatment costs included medication costs (2003 wholesale prices), control measures, and the treatment of adverse affects. The efficacy of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) was obtained from a meta-analysis of results obtained from clinical trials published between 1993 and 2003 that met the following criteria: monotherapy; >16 weeks of treatment; randomized allocation of individuals to the intervention and comparator groups; dietary treatment for > or =3 months before administration of medication; and double-blind measurement of outcomes. Average and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were calculated to assess the efficiency of cholesterol-lowering treatments.

RESULTS: Efficacy, in terms of percentage of LDL-C reduction, ranged from 10% for colestyramine 12 g/day to 49% for atorvastatin 40 mg/day. Total annual treatment costs ranged from euro 321 for fluvastatin 20 mg/day to euro 1151 for atorvastatin 40 mg/day. Cost-effectiveness ratios, in terms of cost per percentage of LDL-C reduced, were: euro 11-23 for atorvastatin; euro 12-21 for simvastatin; euro 14-22 for lovastatin; euro 15-24 for fluvastatin; euro 21-42 for pravastatin; and euro 35-46 for colestyramine. Atorvastatin 10 mg/day was the most cost-effective treatment, followed by simvastatin 10 mg/day, lovastatin 20 mg/day, and fluvastatin 20 mg/day. Atorvastatin was the most cost-effective treatment in the achievement of the NCEP ATP III LDL-C reduction objectives in patients with high (<100 mg/dL) and moderate (<130 mg/dL) risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), with a cost per patient of euro 747 and euro 405 per year, respectively. Fluvastatin was the most cost-effective treatment in the achievement of the NCEP ATPIII therapeutic objective in patients with low-risk of CHD (LDL-C <160 mg/dL), with a cost per patient of euro 321.

CONCLUSION: Atorvastatin 10 mg/day was the most cost-effective cholesterol-lowering drug, followed by simvastatin 10 mg/day, lovastatin 20 mg/day, and fluvastatin 20 mg/day. The preferred statin should be atorvastatin in patients with moderate-to-high CHD risk and fluvastatin in patients with low risk for CHD.

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