Dabigatran Etexilate: A Pharmacoeconomic Review of its Use in the Prevention of Stroke and Systemic Embolism in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation
This article provides an overview of the clinical profile of oral dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa, Pradax™) [hereafter referred to as dabigatran] when used for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF), followed by a review of cost-utility analyses of dabigatran in this patient population. Dabigatran (110 or 150 mg twice daily) demonstrated noninferiority versus adjusted-dose warfarin with regard to the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism (primary endpoint) in patients with AF in the RE-LY trial, and the 150 mg twice-daily dosage was significantly more effective than warfarin for this endpoint, as well as most other efficacy endpoints. The incidence of major bleeding was generally similar in patients receiving dabigatran 150 mg twice daily or warfarin, but was lower in patients receiving dabigatran 110 mg twice daily. With regard to other bleeding endpoints, dabigatran was generally associated with lower rates than warfarin, except for gastrointestinal major bleeding. Dabigatran (both dosages) was associated with a higher incidence of dyspepsia than warfarin. Results of modelled cost-utility analyses from several countries from the perspective of a healthcare payer over a lifetime (or 20-year) time horizon and primarily based on data from the RE-LY trial were generally consistent. All but one analysis demonstrated that twice-daily dabigatran 150 mg (or age-adjusted, sequential dosing) was cost effective with regard to the incremental cost per QALY gained relative to adjusted-dose warfarin in the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in AF patients, as the results were below generally accepted cost-effectiveness thresholds. In contrast, the incremental cost per QALY gained for dabigatran 110 mg twice daily versus warfarin exceeded cost-effectiveness thresholds in all studies except one. Sensitivity analyses suggested that the cost utility of dabigatran versus warfarin was generally robust to variations in the majority of parameters. However, the incremental cost per QALY gained for dabigatran versus warfarin improved when levels of international normalized ratio control in warfarin recipients decreased and when the baseline level of risk of stroke increased.
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