Cost Effectiveness of Interventions for Lateral Epicondylitis: Results from a Randomised Controlled Trial in Primary Care
Ingeborg B.C. Korthals-de Bos
Maurits W. van Tulder
Maureen P.M.H. Rutten-van Molken
Herman J. Ader
Danielle A.W.M. van der Windt
Willem J.J. Assendelft
Lex M. Bouter
Objective: Lateral epicondylitis is a common complaint, with an annual incidence between 1% and 3% in the general population. The Dutch College of General Practitioners in The Netherlands has issued guidelines that recommend a wait-and-see policy. However, these guidelines are not evidence based. Design and setting: This paper presents the results of an economic evaluation in conjunction with a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effects of three interventions in primary care for patients with lateral epicondylitis. Patients and interventions: Patients with pain at the lateral side of the elbow were randomised to one of three interventions: a wait-and-see policy, corticosteroid injections or physiotherapy. Main outcome measures and results: Clinical outcomes included general improvement, pain during the day, elbow disability and QOL. The economic evaluation was conducted from a societal perspective. Direct and indirect costs (in 1999 values) were measured by means of cost diaries over a period of 12 months. Differences in mean costs between groups were evaluated by applying non-parametric bootstrap techniques. The mean total costs per patient for corticosteroid injections were Conclusions: The results of this economic evaluation provided no reason to update or amend the Dutch guidelines for GPs, which recommend a wait-and-see policy for patients with lateral epicondylitis.
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