[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction:
in 2007 the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) restricted the use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and memantine.
we conducted a health technology assessment (HTA) of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine for the treatment of AD to re-consider and up-date the evidence base used to inform the 2007 NICE decision. The systematic review of effectiveness targeted randomised controlled trials. A comprehensive search, including MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Library, was conducted from January 2004 to March 2010. All key review steps were done by two reviewers. Random effects meta-analysis was conducted. The cost-effectiveness was assessed using a cohort-based model with three health states: pre-institutionalised, institutionalised and dead. The perspective was NHS and Personal Social Services and the cost year 2009.
confidence about the size and statistical significance of the estimates of effect of galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine improved on function and global impact in particular. Cost-effectiveness also changed. For donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine, the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) in 2004 was above £50,000; in 2010 the same drugs 'dominated' best supportive care (improved clinical outcome at reduced cost). This was primarily because of changes in the modelled costs of introducing the drugs. For memantine, the cost-effectiveness also improved from a range of £37-53,000 per QALY gained to a base-case of £32,000.
there has been a change in the evidence base between 2004 and 2010 consistent with the change in NICE guidance. Further evolution in cost-effectiveness estimates is possible particularly if there are changes in drug prices.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a form of cancer affecting the blood, characterised by excessive proliferation of white blood cells in the bone marrow and circulating blood. In the UK, an estimated 560 new cases of CML are diagnosed each year.
The purpose of this study was to assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of dasatinib and nilotinib in the treatment of people with imatinib-resistant (ImR) and imatinib-intolerant (ImI) CML. A systematic review of the clinical effectiveness literature, a review of manufacturer submissions and a critique and exploration of manufacturer submissions for accelerated phase and blast crisis CML were carried out and a decision-analytic model was developed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of dasatinib and nilotinib in chronic phase CML. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW METHODS: Key databases were searched for relevant studies from their inception to June 2009 [MEDLINE (including MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations), EMBASE, (ISI Web of Science) Conference Proceedings Citation Index and four others]. One reviewer assessed titles and abstracts of studies identified by the search strategy, with a sample checked by a second reviewer. The full text of relevant papers was obtained and screened against the full inclusion criteria independently by two reviewers. Data from included studies were extracted by one reviewer and checked by a second. Clinical effectiveness studies were synthesised through narrative review. ECONOMIC EVALUATION METHODS: Cost-effectiveness analyses reported in manufacturer submissions to the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence were critically appraised and summarised narratively. In addition, the models for accelerated phase and blast crisis underwent a more detailed critique and exploration. Two separate decision-analytic models were developed for chronic phase CML, one simulating a cohort of individuals who have shown or developed resistance to normal dose imatinib and one representing individuals who have been unable to continue imatinib treatment owing to adverse events. One-way, multiway and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to explore structural and parameter uncertainty.
Fifteen studies were included in the systematic review. Chronic phase: effectiveness data were limited but dasatinib and nilotinib appeared efficacious in terms of obtaining cytogenetic response and haematological response in both ImR and ImI populations. In terms of cost-effectiveness, it was extremely difficult to reach any conclusions regarding either agent in the ImR population. All three models (Novartis, PenTAG and Bristol-Myers Squibb) were seriously flawed in one way or another, as a consequence of the paucity of data appropriate to construct robust decision-analytic models. Accelerated and blast crisis: all available data originated from observational single-arm studies and there were considerable and potentially important differences in baseline characteristics which seriously undermined any process for making meaningful comparisons between treatments. Owing to a lack of available clinical data, de novo models of accelerated phase and blast crisis have not been developed. The economic evaluations carried out by the manufacturers of nilotinib and dasatinib were seriously undermined by the absence of evidence on high-dose imatinib in these populations.
The study has been necessarily constrained by the paucity of available clinical data, the differences in definitions used in the studies and the subsequent impossibility of undertaking a meaningful cost-effectiveness analyses to inform all policy questions.
Dasatinib and nilotinib appeared efficacious in terms of obtaining cytogenetic and haematological responses in both ImR and ImI populations. It was difficult to reach any cost-effectiveness conclusions as a consequence of the paucity of the data. Future research should include a three-way, double-blind, randomised clinical trial of dasatinib, nilotinib and high-dose imatinib.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most commonly occurring form of dementia. It is predominantly a disease of later life, affecting 5% of those over 65 in the UK.
Review and update guidance to the NHS in England and Wales on the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine [acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs)] and memantine within their licensed indications for the treatment of AD, which was issued in November 2006 (amended September 2007 and August 2009).
Electronic databases were searched for systematic reviews and/or metaanalyses, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and ongoing research in November 2009 and updated in March 2010; this updated search revealed no new includable studies. The databases searched included The Cochrane Library (2009 Issue 4, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials), MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, PsycINFO, EconLit, ISI Web of Science Databases--Science Citation Index, Conference Proceedings Citation Index, and BIOSIS; the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) databases--NHS Economic Evaluation Database, Health Technology Assessment, and Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects.
The clinical effectiveness systematic review was undertaken following the principles published by the NHS CRD. We included RCTs whose population was people with AD. The intervention and comparators depended on disease severity, measured by the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). Interventions: mild AD (MMSE 21-26)--donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine; moderate AD (MMSE 10-20)--donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine; severe AD (MMSE < 10)--memantine. Comparators: mild AD (MMSE 21-26)--placebo or best supportive care (BSC); moderate AD (MMSE 10-20)--donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine, memantine, placebo or BSC; severe AD (MMSE < 10)--placebo or BSC. The outcomes were clinical, global, functional, behavioural, quality of life, adverse events, costs and cost-effectiveness. Where appropriate, data were pooled using pair-wise meta-analysis, multiple outcome measures, metaregression and mixedtreatment comparisons. The decision model was based broadly on the structure of the three-state Markov model described in the previous technology assessment report, based upon time to institutionalisation, parameterised with updated estimates of effectiveness, costs and utilities.
Notwithstanding the uncertainty of our results, we found in the base case that the AChEIs are probably cost saving at a willingness-to-pay (WTP) of £’30,000 per qualityadjusted life-year (QALY) for people with mild-to-moderate AD. For this class of drugs, there is a > 99% probability that the AChEIs are more cost-effective than BSC. These analyses assume that the AChEIs have no effect on survival. For the AChEIs, in people with mild to moderate AD, the probabilistic sensitivity analyses suggested that donepezil is the most cost-effective, with a 28% probability of being the most cost-effective option at a WTP of £’30,000 per QALY (27% at a WTP of £’20,000 per QALY). In the deterministic results, donepezil dominates the other drugs and BSC, which, along with rivastigmine patches, are associated with greater costs and fewer QALYs. Thus, although galantamine has a slightly cheaper total cost than donepezil (£’69,592 vs £’69,624), the slightly greater QALY gains from donepezil (1.616 vs 1.617) are enough for donepezil to dominate galantamine.The probability that memantine is cost-effective in a moderate to severe cohort compared with BSC at a WTP of £’30,000 per QALY is 38% (and 28% at a WTP of £’20,000 per QALY). The deterministic ICER for memantine is £’32,100 per/QALY and the probabilistic ICER is £’36,700 per/QALY.
Trials were of 6 months maximum follow-up, lacked reporting of key outcomes, provided no subgroup analyses and used insensitive measures. Searches were limited to English language, The model does not include behavioural symptoms and there is uncertainty about the model structure and parameters.
The additional clinical effectiveness evidence identified continues to suggest clinical benefit from the AChEIs in alleviating AD symptoms, although there is debate about the magnitude of the effect. Although there is also new evidence on the effectiveness of memantine, it remains less supportive of this drug’s use than the evidence for AChEIs. The conclusions concerning cost-effectiveness are quite different from the previous assessment. This is because both the changes in effectiveness and costs between drug use and non-drug use underlying the ICERs are very small. This leads to highly uncertain results, which are very sensitive to change. RESEARCH PRIORITIES: RCTs to include mortality, time to institutionalisation and quality of life, powered for subgroup analysis.
The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of dasatinib and nilotinib compared with high-dose imatinib for people with chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia, which are resistant to normal-dose imatinib and compared with interferon-α for people intolerant to imatinib, from the perspective of the UK National Health Service.
An an area under the curve partitioned survival model was developed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of dasatinib and nilotinib. Clinical effectiveness evidence was taken mostly from single-arm trials.
Both progression-free survival and overall survival are highly uncertain. In the base case, patients take nilotinib for much less time than dasatinib. Nilotinib is expected to dominate high-dose imatinib, yielding slightly more (0.32) quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) at slightly less cost (£11,100 [pound sterling]) per person. Dasatinib is predicted to provide slightly more (0.53) QALYs at substantially greater cost (£48,900), yielding a very high incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £91,500 QALY against high-dose imatinib. Cost-effectiveness, however, changes radically under the plausible assumption that the drugs are taken for the same time. For people intolerant to imatinib, nilotinib is expected to yield an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £104,700/QALY, and dasatinib £82,600/QALY compared with interferon-α. Further, both drugs represent poor value for money for a range of plausible structural assumptions.
The model should be viewed as an exploratory analysis of the cost-effectiveness of dasatinib and nilotinib because it relies on many assumptions. Whilst clinical data remains immature, the cost-effectiveness of dasatinib and nilotinib for imatinib-resistant people is highly uncertain. Both nilotinib and dasatinib are highly unlikely to be cost-effective versus interferon-α for people intolerant to imatinib.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High grade glioma is a rapidly progressive form of brain tumour. Standard therapy involves the use of surgery (either biopsy or resection) and radiotherapy plus or minus temozolomide. Chemotherapy was not previously used due to concerns over efficacy and high risks of side effects. We found two trials, enrolling 272 people in total, with newly diagnosed high grade glioma, that studied the effects of implanting wafers coated with an anti-cancer drug called carmustine (Gliadel®) in the area where the tumour was removed. This was compared with implanting wafers that contained no drug. Both groups received radiotherapy afterwards. Patients who received carmustine wafers had a longer survival without a demonstrably higher incidence of adverse events (side effects). A similar trial enrolled 222 people who had already been diagnosed with a high grade glioma and received surgery but had then had a relapse of disease. In this situation the trial found that Gliadel® did not improve survival or any other outcome measure looked at.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The BJC is owned by Cancer Research UK, a charity dedicated to understanding the causes, prevention and treatment of cancer and to making sure that the best new treatments reach patients in the clinic as quickly as possible. The journal reflects these aims. It was founded more than fifty years ago and, from the start, its far-sighted mission was to encourage communication of the very best cancer research from laboratories and clinics in all countries. The breadth of its coverage, its editorial independence and it consistent high standards, have made BJC one of the world's premier general cancer journals. Its increasing popularity is reflected by a steadily rising impact factor.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · British Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two new agents have recently been licensed for use in the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in Europe. This paper aims to systematically review the evidence from all available randomised clinical trials of sunitinib and bevacizumab (in combination with interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha)) in the treatment of advanced metastatic RCC.
Systematic literature searches were performed in six electronic databases. Bibliographies of included studies were searched for further relevant studies. Individual conference proceedings were searched using their online interfaces. Studies were selected according to the predefined criteria. All randomised clinical trials of sunitinib or bevacizumab in combination with IFN for treating advanced metastatic RCC in accordance with the European licensed indication were included. Study selection, data extraction, validation and quality assessment were performed by two reviewers with disagreements being settled by discussion. The effects of sunitinib and bevacizumab (in combination with IFN-alpha) on progression-free survival were compared indirectly using Bayesian Markov Chain Monte-Carlo (MCMC) sampling in Win BUGS, with IFN as a common comparator.
Three studies were included. Median progression-free survival was significantly prolonged with both interventions (from approximately 5 months to between 8 and 11 months) compared with IFN. Overall survival was also prolonged, compared with IFN, although the published data are not fully mature. Indirect comparison suggests that sunitinib is superior to bevacizumab plus IFN in terms of progression-free survival (hazard ratios 0.796; 95% CI 0.63-1.0; P=0.0272).
There is evidence to suggest that treatment with sunitinib and treatment with bevacizumab plus IFN has clinically relevant and statistically significant advantages over treatment with IFN alone in patients with metastatic RCC.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · British Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the harmful health effects of taking ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA) for recreational purposes.
MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO and Web of Knowledge were searched. Additional information on deaths was collected from the General Mortality Register (GMR) and the Special Mortality Register collated by the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (np-SAD).
Studies were categorised according to design, with systematic research syntheses (Level I evidence) the most valid and least open to bias. Where Level I evidence was not available, controlled observational studies (Level II evidence) were systematically reviewed. If neither Level I nor Level II evidence was available, uncontrolled case series and case reports (Level III evidence) were systematically surveyed. Data were extracted by one reviewer and a sample checked by a second. The heterogeneity of Level II evidence was addressed by undertaking stratified analyses for current and former ecstasy users and comparing them either with control groups using other illegal drugs but not ecstasy (polydrug controls) or with controls naïve to illegal drugs (drug-naïve controls). Statistical heterogeneity was minimised by using a random-effects model throughout and investigated using study-level regression analysis (metaregression).
Five Level I syntheses were identified; for each it was difficult to ascertain the exact methods adopted and evidence included. Small but significant deficits for ecstasy users compared to controls were reported in areas relating to attention, memory, psychomotor speed, executive systems functioning, and self-reported depressive symptoms. Data from Level II studies were directly pooled for seven individual outcomes, suggesting that ecstasy users performed worse than controls on common measures of immediate and delayed verbal recall (RAVLT, RBMT, digit span). No difference was seen in IQ (NART). The 915 outcome measures identified in Level II studies were analysed in broad domains: immediate and delayed verbal and visual memory, working memory, two measures of attention, three measures of executive function, perceptual organisation, self-rated depression, memory and anxiety, and impulsivity measured objectively and subjectively. Ecstasy users performed significantly worse than polydrug controls in 13/16 domains and significantly worse than drug-naïve controls in 7/12 domains for which sufficient data were available. The largest, most consistent exposure effects were seen in meta-analyses of memory (especially verbal and working memory, with less marked effects seen in visual memory). Former ecstasy users frequently showed deficits that matched or exceeded those seen amongst current users. At aggregate level, the effects do not appear to be dose-related, but are variably confounded by other drug use, particularly alcohol. Of Level III evidence, in the 10 years to 2006, the np-SAD and the GMR recorded an average of around 50 drug-related deaths per year involving ecstasy; it was the sole drug implicated in around 10 cases per year. Retrospective case series, based on hospital emergency department records, reported a death rate of 0-2% from emergency admissions related to ecstasy. Two major syndromes are most commonly reported as the immediate cause of death in fatal cases: hyperthermia and hyponatraemia.
A broad range of relatively low-quality literature suggests that recreational use of ecstasy is associated with significant deficits in neurocognitive function (particularly immediate and delayed verbal memory) and increased psychopathological symptoms. The clinical significance of the exposure effect in individual cases will be variable but, on average, deficits are likely to be relatively small. Ecstasy is associated with a range of acute harms but appears to be a rare cause of death in isolation.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2009 · Health technology assessment (Winchester, England)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High grade glioma (HGG) is a rapidly progressive form of brain cancer with a poor survival rate even after standard treatment with surgery and radiotherapy. Temozolomide is an oral anti-cancer drug. Three randomised controlled trials (RCTs) enrolling patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM - a form of HGG) have studied chemotherapy with temozolomide during and after radiotherapy. This was compared with radiotherapy only. Those who received temozolomide had an improved survival and delayed progression of the disease. The short-term adverse events associated with temozolomide are low but can be severe, while the long-term effects are unknown. No RCTs investigated the use of temozolomide in HGGs other than GBM. In recurrent GBM, temozolomide delayed progression but did not improve overall survival. In the elderly population (age over 60 years), temozolomide alone appears to be a suitable alternative to radiotherapy alone for primary therapy of GBM. Either treatment has similar overall survival, progression-free survival and quality of life, but there are possibly more adverse events with temozolomide. All these trials enrolled highly selected patients with good prognostic features that are not entirely representative of all patients with HGG limiting the general applicability of these results.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2008 · Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We found two trials, enrolling 272 people with newly diagnosed high grade glioma, which studied the effects of implanting wafers coated with an anti-cancer drug called carmustine (Gliadel®) in the patients' brains once the tumour was removed. This was compared with implanting wafers that contained no drug. Both groups received radiotherapy afterwards. Patients who received carmustine wafers had better survival and we found no evidence that carmustine led to a higher risk of side effects. A similar trial enrolled 222 people who had already been diagnosed with high grade glioma and received surgery but had then had a relapse of disease. In this situation the trial found that carmustine wafers did not prolong the lives of the patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) alone and ICS used in combination with a long-acting beta2 agonist (LABA) in the treatment of chronic asthma in adults and children aged over 12 years.
Major electronic bibliographic databases, e.g. MEDLINE and EMBASE, were searched up to February/March 2006 (and updated again in October 2006).
A systematic review of clinical and cost-effectiveness studies was conducted. Cost comparison and cost-consequence analyses were performed where appropriate.
The assessment of clinical effectiveness was based on the 67 randomised controlled trials selected from the 5175 reports identified through the systematic literature search. The most frequently reported relevant outcomes were lung function, symptoms, use of rescue medication and adverse events. The trials varied considerably. In the trials that compared low-dose ICS versus ICS and high-dose ICS versus ICS, there were few significant differences in clinical effectiveness, although a few of the trials had assessed non-inferiority between the comparators rather than superiority. At doses of 400, 800 and 'high-level' doses of 1500 or 1600 microg/day, beclometasone dipropionate (BDP) appears to be the current cheapest ICS product both with the inclusion and exclusion of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-propelled products. A significant treatment benefit for combination ICS/LABA therapy across a range of outcomes compared with ICS alone was identified [when the ICS was double the accepted clinically equivalent dose of the ICS in the combination inhaler, and dry powder inhalers (DPIS) were used to deliver the drugs]. When a formoterol fumarate (FF)/salmeterol (SAL) combination inhaler and a budesonide (BUD)/FF combination inhaler were each compared with their constituent drugs delivered in separate inhalers, there were very few statistically significant differences between the treatments across the various efficacy outcomes and the rate of adverse events. Combination inhalers were more often cheaper than doubling the dose of ICS alone. However, the costs were highly variable and dependent on both the dose required and the preparation used in the trials. The estimated mean annual cost of FP/SAL combination varied from being 94 pounds cheaper to 109 pounds more expensive than the alternative of BUD at a higher dose. The BUD/FF combination varied from being 163 pounds cheaper to 66 pounds more expensive than the higher dose of either BUD or FP. When the combination inhalers were compared to each other, the results were mixed, with the FP/SAL combination significantly superior on some outcomes and the BUD/FF combination superior on others; however, meta-analysis showed that there were no significant differences between the two treatments in the rate of adverse events. Taking an ICS with a LABA as either of the two currently available combination products, FP/SAL and BUD/FF, is usually cheaper than taking the relevant constituent drugs in separate inhalers. At very high doses of BUD (1600 microg/day), however, the BUD/FF combination inhaler can be up to 156 pounds more expensive than having the same drugs in separate inhalers. In terms of the relative costs associated with taking one of the combination inhalers, at low dose (400 microg BUD or 200 microg FP/day) the cheapest combination inhaler is FP/SAL as a pressurised metered dose inhaler (pMDI) (Seretide Evohaler). However, this is only slightly cheaper than using BUD/FF as a DPI (Symbicort Turbohaler). At higher dose levels (800 microg BUD or 500 microg FP/day) FP/SAL as either pMDI aerosol (Seretide Evohaler) or a DPI (Seretide Accuhaler) is the cheapest combination product available, but again only slightly cheaper than the DPI BUD/FF combination (Symbicort Turbohaler). It should be highlighted, however, that the three head-to-head trials that compared the effects of FP/SAL with BUD/FF used the FP/SAL DPI combination inhaler, Seretide Accuhaler.
The evidence indicates that there are few consistent significant differences in effects between the five ICS licensed for use in adults and adolescents over the age of 12 years, at either low or high dose. On average, BDP products currently tend to be the cheapest ICS available and tend to remain so as the daily ICS dose required increases. There is evidence that the addition of a LABA to an ICS is potentially more clinically effective than doubling the dose of ICS alone, although consistent significant differences between the two treatment strategies are not observed for all outcome measures. The cost differences between combination therapy compared with ICS monotherapy are highly variable and dependent on the dose required and the particular preparations used. For the combination therapies of ICS/LABA there are potential cost savings with the use of combination inhalers compared with separate inhalers, with few differences between the two treatment strategies in terms of effects. The only exception to this cost saving is with BUD/FF at doses higher than 1200 microg/day, where separate inhaler devices can become equivalent to or cheaper than combination inhalers. Neither of the two combination inhalers (FP/SAL or BUD/FF) is consistently superior in terms of treatment effect. A comparison of the costs associated with each combination therapy indicates that at low dose FP/SAL delivered via a pMDI is currently the cheapest combination inhaler but only marginally cheaper than BUD/FF delivered as a DPI. At higher doses, both the FP/SAL combination inhalers (PMDI and DPI) are marginally cheaper than BUD/FF (DPI). Future trials of treatment for chronic asthma should standardise the way in which outcome measures are defined and measured, with a greater focus on patient-centred outcomes. For informing future cost-utility and cost-effectiveness analyses from a UK NHS perspective, there is a need for longitudinal studies that comprehensively track the care pathways followed when people experience asthma exacerbations of different severity. Further research synthesis, quantifying the adverse effects of the different ICS, is required for treatment choices by patients and clinicians to be fully informed.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2008 · Health technology assessment (Winchester, England)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: To assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) alone and ICS used in combination with a long-acting beta2 agonist (LABA) in the treatment of chronic asthma in children aged under 12 years. DATA SOURCES: Major electronic bibliographic databases, e.g. MEDLINE and EMBASE, were searched up to February/March 2006 (and updated again in October 2006). REVIEW METHODS: A systematic review of clinical and cost-effectiveness studies and economic analyses were carried out. A flexible framework was used to allow different types of economic analyses as appropriate, with either a cost comparison or cost-consequence comparison conducted. RESULTS: Of 5175 records identified through systematic literature searching, 34 records describing 25 studies were included (16 were fully published randomised controlled trials, six were systematic reviews, and three were post-2004 conference abstracts). The most frequently reported relevant outcomes in the 16 RCTs were peak expiratory flow rate (13 trials), FEV1 (13 trials), symptoms (13 trials), adverse events or exacerbations (13 trials), use of rescue medication (12 trials), markers of adrenal function (e.g. blood or urine cortisol concentrations) (13 trials), height and/or growth rate (seven trials) and markers of bone metabolism (two trials). In the trials that compared low-dose ICS versus ICS and high-dose ICS versus ICS, no consistent significant differences or patterns in differential treatment effect among the outcomes were evident. Where differences were statistically significant at high doses, such as for lung function and growth, they favoured formoterol fumarate (FF), but this was generally in studies that did not compare the ICS at the accepted clinically equivalent doses. Differences between the drugs in impact on adrenal suppression were only significant in two studies. At doses of 200, 400 and 800 microg/day, beclometasone dipropionate (BDP) appears to be the current cheapest ICS product both with the inclusion and exclusion of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-propelled products. In the trials comparing ICS at a higher dose with ICS and LABA in combination, most outcomes favoured the combined inhaler. Only the combination inhaler, Seretide Evohaler, is slightly cheaper than the weighted mean cost of all types of ICS at increased dose except BDP 400 microg/day (including CFC-propelled products). Both the combination inhalers, Seretide Accuhaler and Symbicort Turbohaler, are more expensive than the weighted mean cost for all types of ICS at a two-fold increased dose. Compared with the lowest cost preparation for each ICS drug, all the combination inhalers are always more expensive than the ICS products at increased dose. CONCLUSIONS: The limited evidence available indicates that there are no consistent significant differences in effectiveness between the three ICS licensed for use in children at either low or high dose. BDP CFC-propelled products are often the cheapest ICS currently available at both low and high dose, and may remain so even when CFC-propelled products are excluded. Exclusion of CFC-propelled products increases the mean annual cost of all budesonide (BUD) and BDP, while the overall cost differences between the comparators diminish. There is very limited evidence available for the efficacy and safety of ICS and LABAs in children. From this limited evidence, there appear to be no significant clinical differences in effects between the use of a combination inhaler versus the same drugs in separate inhalers. There is a lack of evidence comparing ICS at a higher dose with ICS and LABA in combination and comparing the combination products with each other. In the absence of any evidence concerning the effectiveness of ICS at higher dose with ICS and LABA, a cost-consequence analysis gives mixed results. There are potential cost savings with the use of combination inhalers compared to separate inhalers. At present prices, the BUD/FF combination is more expensive than those containing FP/SAL, but it is not known whether there are clinically significant differences between them. A scoping review is required to assess the requirements for additional primary research on the clinical effectiveness of treatment for asthma in children under 5 years old. Such a review could also usefully include all treatment options, pharmacological and non-pharmacological, for asthma. A direct head-to-head trial that compares the two combination therapies of FP/SAL and BUD/FF is warranted, and it is important to assess whether the addition of a LABA to a lower dose of ICS could potentially be as effective as an increased dose of ICS alone, but also be steroid sparing. There is also a need for the long-term adverse events associated with ICS use to be assessed systematically. Future trials of treatment for chronic asthma in children should aim to standardise further the way in which outcome measures are defined. There should be a greater focus on patient-centred outcomes to provide a more meaningful estimation of the impact of treatment on asthma control. Methods of reporting also require standardisation. [References: 235]
Full-text · Article · May 2008 · Health technology assessment (Winchester, England)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using a decision-analytic model, we evaluated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in individuals with cirrhosis. Separate cohorts with cirrhosis due to alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis B and hepatitis C were simulated. Results were also combined to approximate a mixed aetiology population. Comparisons were made between a variety of surveillance algorithms using alpha-foetoprotein (AFP) assay and/or ultrasound at 6- and 12-monthly intervals. Parameter estimates were obtained from comprehensive literature reviews. Uncertainty was explored using one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. In the mixed aetiology cohort, 6-monthly AFP+ultrasound was predicted to be the most effective strategy. The model estimates that, compared with no surveillance, this strategy may triple the number of people with operable tumours at diagnosis and almost halve the number of people who die from HCC. The cheapest strategy employed triage with annual AFP (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER): 20,700 pounds per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained). At a willingness-to-pay threshold of 30,000 pounds per QALY the most cost-effective strategy used triage with 6-monthly AFP (ICER: 27,600 pounds per QALY gained). The addition of ultrasound to this strategy increased the ICER to 60,100 pounds per QALY gained. Surveillance appears most cost-effective in individuals with hepatitis B-related cirrhosis, potentially due to younger age at diagnosis of cirrhosis. Our results suggest that, in a UK NHS context, surveillance of individuals with cirrhosis for HCC should be considered effective and cost-effective. The economic efficiency of different surveillance strategies is predicted to vary markedly according to cirrhosis aetiology.
Full-text · Article · May 2008 · British Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High-grade gliomas are aggressive brain tumours that are extremely challenging to treat effectively. The intracranial implantation of carmustine wafers (BCNU-W), which delivers chemotherapy directly to the affected area, may prolong survival in this population. However, no attention has yet been paid to the economic implications of BCNU-W in this setting.
To investigate the cost effectiveness of BCNU-W as an adjunct to surgery followed by radiotherapy, compared with surgery plus radiotherapy alone. Newly diagnosed, operable grade III and IV gliomas in a population with a mean age of 55 years were considered.
A Markov cost-utility model was developed in Microsoft Excel, adopting a UK NHS perspective. Transition probabilities and cost data (year 2004 values) were obtained from published literature or expert opinion. The model incorporated utility values, obtained from members of the public, reflecting the quality of life associated with high-grade glioma. The effects of uncertainty were explored through extensive one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analysis.
Surgery with the implantation of BCNU-W followed by radiotherapy costs pound sterling 54 500 per additional QALY gained when compared with surgery plus radiotherapy alone. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis shows a <10% probability that BCNU-W would be considered cost effective at a willingness-to-pay threshold of pound sterling 30 000 per QALY. Although model outputs were sensitive to alterations in several key parameters, the incremental cost effectiveness of the intervention remained above pound sterling 30 000 per QALY in all analyses.
Compared with usual care for the treatment of newly diagnosed high-grade gliomas, BCNU-W is unlikely to be considered a cost-effective use of healthcare resources when judged by the standards commonly adopted in England and Wales. However, the dreadful prognosis of the condition and the paucity of alternative therapies are additional issues that healthcare commissioners may choose to take into account when considering an adoption decision.
No preview · Article · Jan 2008 · PharmacoEconomics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of adjuvant carmustine wafers (BCNU-W) and also of adjuvant and concomitant temozolomide (TMZ), compared with surgery with radiotherapy.
Electronic databases were searched up to August 2005.
Included trials were critically appraised for key elements of internal and external validity. Relevant data were extracted and a narrative synthesis of the evidence produced. Where possible, data on absolute survival at a fixed time point were meta-analysed using a random effects model. A Markov (state transition) model was developed to assess the cost-utility of the two interventions. The model compared BCNU-W or TMZ separately with current standard treatment with surgery and radiotherapy. The simulated cohort had a mean age of 55 years and was modelled over 5 years.
Two randomised controlled trials (RCTs) (n = 32, n = 240) and two observational studies of BCNU-W compared with placebo wafers as adjuvant therapy to surgery and radiotherapy for newly diagnosed high-grade glioma were identified. All the studies were in adults and provided data on 193 patients who had received BCNU-W. The RCT findings excluded under 65-year-olds and those with a Karnofsky Performance Status of less than 60. The largest multi-centre RCT suggested a possible survival advantage with BCNU-W among a cohort of patients with grade III and IV tumours, adding a median of 2.3 months [95% confidence interval (CI) -0.5 to 5.1]. However, analysis using per-protocol, unstratified methods shows this difference to be not statistically significant (HR 0.77, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.03, p = 0.08). Long-term follow-up suggests a significant survival advantage using unstratified analysis. No difference in progression-free survival (PFS) was demonstrated. Subgroup analysis of those with grade IV tumours also showed no significant survival advantage with BCNU-W [hazard ratio (HR) 0.82, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.11, p = 0.20, unstratified analysis]. It is estimated that the cost of surgery and radiotherapy, with follow-up, treatment of adverse effects and end of life care is around 17,000 pounds per patient. Treatment with BCNU-W adds an additional 6600 pounds. Across the modelled cohort of 1000 patients, use of BCNU-W costs an additional 6.6 million pounds and confers an additional 122 quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). On average, that is 6600 pounds per patient for 0.122 QALYs (6.3 quality-adjusted life-weeks). The base-case incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) is 54,500 pounds/QALY. In probabilistic sensitivity analyses, BCNU-W was not cost-effective in 89% of the simulations assuming a willingness to pay threshold of 30,000 pounds/QALY. In 15% of simulations, BCNU-W was dominated (i.e. did more harm than good, conferring fewer QALYs at greater cost). The cost-effectiveness acceptability curve (CEAC) suggests that it is very unlikely to be the most cost-effective option at normal levels of willingness to pay (11% probability at 30,000 pounds/QALY), only becoming likely to be the most cost-effective option at much higher levels of willingness to pay (50% probability at 55,000 pounds/QALY). Two RCTs (n = 130, n = 573) and two observational studies were included, giving evidence for 429 adult patients receiving TMZ. Currently, TMZ is licensed for use in those with newly diagnosed grade IV gliomas only. The RCTs excluded those with lower performance status and, in the larger RCT, those older than 70 years. TMZ provides a small but statistically significant median survival benefit of 2.5 months (95% CI 2.0 to 3.8), giving an HR of 0.63 (95% CI 0.52 to 0.75, p < 0.001). At 2 years, 26.5% of patients treated with TMZ were alive compared with 10.4% of those in the control arm. Median PFS is also enhanced with TMZ, giving a median 1.9 months' advantage (95% CI 1.4 to 2.7, p < 0.001). No analysis of the subgroup of patients with confirmed grade IV tumours was undertaken. Subgroup analysis of patients by O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) activity showed a significant treatment advantage for those with reduced MGMT activity but not for those with normal activity, although this analysis was based on a selected sample of patients and the test used has proved difficult to replicate. A median gain of 6.4 (95% CI 4.4 to 9.5) more life-months is seen with TMZ among those with reduced MGMT, giving an HR of 0.51 (p < 0.007). PFS is increased by a median of 4.4 months (95% CI 1.2 to 6.3), giving an HR of 0.48 (p = 0.001). The model shows a cost per patient for being treated with surgery, radiotherapy and including adverse effects of treatment and end of life care of around 17,000 pounds per patient. TMZ in the adjuvant and concomitant phase adds an additional cost of around 7800 pounds. Across the modelled cohort of 1000 patients, use of TMZ costs an additional 7.8 million pounds and confers an additional 217 QALYs. For the average patient this is 7800 pounds for an additional 0.217 QALYs (11 quality-adjusted life-weeks). The base-case ICER is 36,000 pounds/QALY. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses shows that TMZ was not cost-effective in 77% of the simulations. The CEAC suggests that there is a 23% chance that TMZ is the most cost-effective option at a willingness to pay level of 30,000 pounds/QALY, rising to be more cost-effective than no TMZ at slightly higher levels (50% probability at 35,000 pounds/QALY).
BCNU-W has not been proven to confer a significant advantage in survival for patients with grade III tumours when treated with the drug, compared with placebo. There does not appear to be a survival advantage for patients with grade IV tumours. No increase in PFS has been shown. Limited evidence suggests a small but significant advantage in both overall survival and PFS with TMZ among a mixed population with grade IV and grade III (7-8%) tumours. However, it remains unclear whether this is true in grade IV tumours alone. On the basis of best available evidence, the authors consider that neither BCNU-W nor TMZ is likely to be considered cost-effective by NHS decision-makers. However, data for the model were drawn from limited evidence of variable quality. Tumour type is clearly important in assessing patient prognosis with different treatments. Grade IV tumours are commonest and appear to have least chance of response. There were too few grade III tumours included to carry out a formal assessment, but they appear to respond better and drive results for both drugs. Future use of genetic and biomarkers may help identify subtypes which will respond, but current licensing indications do not specify these. Further research is suggested into the effectiveness of these drugs, and also into areas such as genetic markers, chemotherapy regimens, patient and carer quality of life, and patient views on survival advantages vs treatment disadvantages.
Preview · Article · Nov 2007 · Health technology assessment (Winchester, England)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of surveillance of patients with cirrhosis [alcoholic liver disease (ALD)-, hepatitis B (HBV)- and C virus (HCV)-related], using periodic serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) testing and/or liver ultrasound examination, to detect hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), followed by treatment with liver transplantation or resection, where appropriate.
Electronic databases were searched up to March 2006.
A systematic review was carried out using standard methodological guidelines. A computerised decision-analytic model was then developed to compare various surveillance strategies.
No studies were identified that met the criteria of the systematic review. Based on the assumptions used in the model, the most effective surveillance strategy uses a combination of AFP testing and ultrasound at 6-monthly intervals. Compared with no surveillance, this strategy is estimated to more than triple the number of people with operable HCC tumours at time of diagnosis, and almost halves the number of deaths from HCC. On all effectiveness measures and at both testing frequencies, AFP- and ultrasound-led surveillance strategies are very similar. This may be because test sensitivity was varied according to tumour size, which means that AFP testing is capable of identifying many more small tumours than ultrasound. The best available evidence suggests that AFP tests will detect approximately six times as many small tumours as ultrasound. Increasing the frequency of either test to 6-monthly intervals is more effective than performing combined testing on an annual basis. The undiscounted lifetime cost of the surveillance strategies, including all care and treatment costs, ranges from 40,300 pounds (annual AFP triage) to 42,900 pounds (6-monthly AFP and ultrasound). The equivalent discounted costs are 28,400 pounds and 30,400 pounds. Only a small proportion of these total costs results from the cost of the screening tests. However, screening test costs, and the cost of liver transplants and caring for people post-transplant, accounted for most of the incremental cost differences between alternative surveillance strategies. The results suggest that different surveillance strategies may provide the best value for money in patient groups of different cirrhosis aetiologies. The surveillance of people with HBV-related cirrhosis for HCC provides the best value for money, while surveillance in people with ALD-related cirrhosis provides the poorest value for money. In people with HBV-related cirrhosis, at an assumed maximum willingness to pay (WTP) for a quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) of 30,000 pounds, both the deterministic and probabilistic cost-utility analyses suggest the optimal surveillance strategy would be 6-monthly surveillance with the combination of AFP testing and ultrasound. In contrast, for those with ALD-related cirrhosis, annual screening with AFP as a triage test is the only surveillance strategy that is likely to be considered cost-effective at this WTP. The probabilistic analysis implies that the estimated benefits of a 6-monthly AFP triage strategy will only be worth the cost in those with ALD when society's WTP for a QALY exceeds around 40,000 pounds. For people with HCV-related cirrhosis, the model suggests that the most cost-effective surveillance strategy at a WTP threshold of 30,000 pounds/QALY would be surveillance with a 6-monthly AFP triage strategy.
In a mixed-aetiology cohort, the most effective surveillance strategy is to screen each patient with AFP assay and ultrasound imaging on a 6-monthly basis. However, when costs are taken into account it is doubtful whether ultrasound should be routinely offered to those with blood AFP of less than 20 ng/ml, unless policy-makers are prepared to pay over 60,000 pounds per QALY for the benefits achieved. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of surveillance for HCC varies considerably depending on the aetiology of cirrhosis; it is much more likely to be cost-effective in those with HBV-related cirrhosis, and much less likely to be cost-effective in those with ALD-related cirrhosis. Further development of the model would help to enable refinement of an optimal screening strategy. Research into the use of contrast-enhanced ultrasound technology for HCC detection would also be valuable, as would research into the epidemiology and natural history of ALD-related cirrhosis. Studies are also needed to investigate the influence of cirrhosis aetiology on tumour AFP expression.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2007 · Health technology assessment (Winchester, England)