Cost-effectiveness analysis of budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy versus fixed combination treatments for asthma in Finland*

Klaus Tamminen, Juha Laine, Erkki Soini, Janne Martikainen, Hannu Kankaanranta
Current Medical Research and Opinion 2008, 24 (12): 3453-61

BACKGROUND: Budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy has shown its effectiveness as a treatment for moderate-to-severe asthma.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the cost-effectiveness of budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy as compared to fixed combination therapies (budesonide/formoterol and salmeterol/fluticasone) with terbutaline as needed in the treatment of asthma in Finland.

METHODS: Patients without asthma exacerbations during a 6-month period were used as the effectiveness variable in the within-trial economic analysis. Finnish unit costs were applied to pooled resource use data, and multinomial cost-effectiveness plane and acceptability curves were formed based on bootstrapping.

RESULTS: Use of budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy significantly reduced the rate of severe asthma exacerbations as compared with a fixed dose of budesonide/formoterol or salmeterol/fluticasone and terbutaline as needed. Total costs over 6 months were 496 euros per patient for those who used the budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy treatment model, which was 78-101 euros lower than the cost of fixed combinations of salmeterol/fluticasone or budesonide/formoterol with terbutaline as needed. The results indicate that the budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy achieves a high probability (> 93%) of cost effectiveness irrespective of willingness to pay level.

CONCLUSIONS: Budesonide/formoterol maintenance and reliever therapy may be considered in the treatment of moderate-to-severe asthma instead of conventional treatment with combination products in view of its good clinical efficacy and a high probability of cost-effectiveness in the Finnish setting. However, a cost-effectiveness analysis with a longer time horizon, more Finnish-specific data, and ICS + short/long-acting inhaled beta(2)-agonist as an additional comparator is still warranted.

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