The cost-utility of high dose oral mesalazine for moderately active ulcerative colitis

A Buckland, K Bodger
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2008 December 1, 28 (11): 1287-96

BACKGROUND: Mesalazine (mesalamine) is standard first line treatment for moderately active ulcerative colitis (UC). Recently, doubling the mesalazine dose (Asacol 4.8 g/day) was shown to improve efficacy with no increase in adverse events. The cost-effectiveness of this strategy remains unknown.

AIM: To assess the cost-utility of high dose (HD) mesalazine (Asacol 4.8 g/day) compared with standard dose (SD) mesalazine (Asacol 2.4 g/day) as first line treatment for moderately active UC.

METHODS: The costs and benefits associated with a treatment pathway beginning with HD or SD mesalazine were determined over 12 weeks using a decision tree analytical model.

RESULTS: A 12-week treatment pathway starting with HD mesalazine cost an average of 2382 pounds per patient compared with 2474 pounds for SD mesalazine and generated 0.0016 more quality adjusted life years (QALYs). HD mesalazine dominated SD mesalazine, being both more effective and less costly. HD mesalazine treatment resulted in fewer patients requiring surgery or hospitalization for intensive pharmacological treatment. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis indicated a 72% chance that HD mesalazine was cost effective, based on a cost/QALY threshold of 30,000 pounds.

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that HD mesalazine represents a cost-effective alternative to SD mesalazine for moderately active UC, while potentially reducing the need for hospitalization.

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