, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 400-410

Cost-effectiveness of strategies for primary prevention of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced peptic ulcer disease

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OBJECTIVE: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase the risk of peptic ulcer disease by 5- to 7-fold in the first 3 months of treatment. This study examined the relative cost-effectiveness of different strategies for the primary prevention of NSAID-induced ulcers in patients that are starting NSAID treatment.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A decision analysis model was developed to compare the cost-effectiveness of 6 prophylactic strategies relative to no prophylaxis for patients 65 years of age starting a 3-month course of NSAIDs: (1) testing for Helicobacter pylori infection and treating those with positive tests; (2) empiric treatment of all patients for Helicobacter pylori; (3) conventional-dose histamine2 receptor antagonists; (4) high-dose histamine2 receptor antagonists; (5) misoprostol; and (6) omeprazole. Costs were estimated from 1997 Medicare reimbursement schedules and the Drug Topics Red Book. Empiric treatment of Helicobacter pylori with bismuth, metronidazole, and tetracycline was cost-saving in the baseline analysis. Selective treatment of Helicobacter pylori, misoprostol, omeprazole, and conventional-dose or high-dose histamine2 receptor antagonists cost $23,800, $46,100, $34,400, and $15,600 or $21,500 per year of life saved, respectively, relative to prophylaxis. The results were sensitive to the probability of an ulcer, the probability and mortality of ulcer complications, and the cost of, efficacy of, and compliance with prophylaxis. The cost-effectiveness estimates did not change substantially when costs associated with antibiotic resistance of Helicobacter pylori were incorporated.

CONCLUSIONS: Several strategies for primary prevention of NSAID-induced ulcers in patients starting NSAIDs were estimated to have acceptable cost-effectiveness relative to prophylaxis. Empirically treating all patients for Helicobacter pylori with bismuth, metronidazole, and tetracycline was projected to be cost-saving in older patients.

Presented in part at the annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association, Orlando, Fla, May 1999 (Gastroenterology. 1999;116:A71).
Dr. Ko was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the time of this work. The opinions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We thank David Veenstra, PhD, for his help in modeling antibiotic resistance.