Economic evaluation of everolimus vs. azathioprine at one year after de novo heart transplantation

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BackgroundEverolimus decreases acute rejection and cardiac allograft vasculopathy after heart transplantation. We compared within-trial costs and resource use over 1 yr of follow-up in de novo heart transplant patients randomized to everolimus 1.5 mg/d (n = 209), everolimus 3.0 mg/d (n = 211), or azathioprine (n = 214).Patients and methodsResource use data were collected prospectively for 634 patients from 14 countries. We used the nonparametric bootstrap method to test for differences in mean costs and to estimate confidence intervals for cost-effectiveness ratios.ResultsEverolimus patients had lower incidence of efficacy failure compared with azathioprine patients (41.6%, everolimus 1.5 mg; 32.2%, everolimus 3.0 mg; 52.8%, azathioprine). Compared with patients receiving azathioprine, everolimus patients spent more days in the hospital [36.3 d for everolimus 1.5 mg/d (p = 0.21); 38.4 d for everolimus 3.0 mg/d (p = 0.01); 32.2 d for azathioprine]. Mean total costs, excluding the study medications, were not significantly different among treatment groups ($72 065 for everolimus 1.5 mg; $72 631 for everolimus 3.0 mg; $70 815 for azathioprine).ConclusionsOver 1 yr of follow-up after heart transplantation, everolimus did not significantly increase treatment costs, excluding the costs of the study medications, while reducing efficacy failure. Longer follow-up and the cost of everolimus are required to fully evaluate the cost-effectiveness of everolimus vs. azathioprine in post-transplant maintenance.

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