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A Systematic Review and Critical Appraisal of Economic Evaluations of Pharmacological Interventions for People with Bipolar Disorder


  • Ifigeneia Mavranezouli

    () (University College London)

  • Joran Lokkerbol

    (Trimbos Institute (The Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction)
    University Medical Centre Groningen)


Abstract Background Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic mood disorder that causes substantial psychological and financial burden. Various pharmacological treatments are effective in the management and prevention of acute episodes of BD. In an era of tighter healthcare budgets and a need for more efficient use of resources, several economic evaluations have evaluated the cost effectiveness of treatments for BD. Objective The aim of this study was to systematically review and appraise published economic evaluations of pharmacological interventions for BD. Methods A systematic search combining search terms specific to BD with a health economics search filter was conducted on six bibliographic databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, HTA, NHS EED, CENTRAL) in order to identify trial- or model-based full economic evaluations of pharmacological treatments of any phase of the disorder that were published between 1 January 1990 and 18 December 2015. Studies that met the inclusion criteria were critically appraised using the Quality of Health Economic Studies (QHES) checklist, and synthesised in a narrative way. Results The review included 19 economic studies, which varied with regard to the type and number of interventions assessed, the study design, the phase of treatment (acute or maintenance), the source of efficacy data and the method for evidence synthesis, the outcome measures, the time horizon and the countries/settings in which the studies were conducted. The study quality was variable but the majority of studies were of high or fair quality. Conclusion Pharmacological interventions are cost effective, compared with no treatment, in the management of BD, both in the acute and maintenance phases. However, it is difficult to draw safe conclusions on the relative cost effectiveness between drugs due to differences across studies and limitations characterising many of them. Future economic evaluations need to consider the whole range of treatment options available for the management of BD and adopt appropriate methods for evidence synthesis and economic modelling, to explore more robustly the relative cost effectiveness of pharmacological interventions for people with BD.

Suggested Citation

  • Ifigeneia Mavranezouli & Joran Lokkerbol, 2017. "A Systematic Review and Critical Appraisal of Economic Evaluations of Pharmacological Interventions for People with Bipolar Disorder," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 271-296, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:pharme:v:35:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s40273-016-0473-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s40273-016-0473-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. L. M. Lamers & C. A. M. Bouwmans & A. van Straten & M. C. H. Donker & L. Hakkaart, 2006. "Comparison of EQ-5D and SF-6D utilities in mental health patients," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(11), pages 1229-1236.
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    4. John Brazier & Jennifer Roberts & Aki Tsuchiya & Jan Busschbach, 2004. "A comparison of the EQ-5D and SF-6D across seven patient groups," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(9), pages 873-884.
    5. Briggs, Andrew & Sculpher, Mark & Claxton, Karl, 2006. "Decision Modelling for Health Economic Evaluation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198526629.
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