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Cost-effectiveness of dabigatran compared with warfarin for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation--a real patient data analysis in a Hong Kong teaching hospital.

BACKGROUND: To compare the management cost and cost-effectiveness of dabigatran with warfarin in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF) from the hospital's and patients' perspectives.

HYPOTHESIS: Dabigatran is more cost-effective than warfarin for stroke prevention of AF in Hong Kong.

METHODS: The analysis was performed in conjunction with a drug utilization evaluation of dabigatran study in a teaching hospital in Hong Kong. The study recruited 244 patients who received either dabigatran or warfarin for stroke prevention of AF. A cost-effectiveness analysis was performed and was expressed as an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in averting a cardiac event or a bleeding event. A sensitivity analysis was used on all relevant variables to test the robustness.

RESULTS: From the hospital's perspective, the dabigatran group had a lower total cost of management than that of the warfarin group (median: US$421 vs US$1306, P < 0.001) (US$1 = HK$7.75) and was dominant over warfarin. From the patients' perspective, the total cost of management in the dabigatran group was higher than that in warfarin group (median: US$1751 vs US$70, P < 0.001), and the ICER in preventing a cardiac or bleeding event of dabigatran vs warfarin was estimated at US$68,333 and US$20,500, respectively. If dabigatran was subsidized by the hospital, a higher cost would be incurred by the hospital (median: US$1679 vs US$1306, ICER (cardiac and bleeding events): US$15,163 and US$4549, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: The study favored dabigatran for stroke prophylaxis in patients with nonvalvular AF in Hong Kong under the current hospital's perspective and provided a reference for further comparisons under patient and subsidization perspectives.

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