Dermatan Sulfate versus Unfractionated Heparin for the Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism in Patients Undergoing Surgery for Cancer: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
Background: In a recent clinical trial, dermatan sulfate was found to be more effective than unfractionated heparin (UFH), but equally well tolerated, for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) after major surgery for cancer. Objective: To perform a cost-effectiveness analysis of dermatan sulfate versus UFH in this clinical setting. Design and setting: This was a retrospective economic analysis using data from a randomised clinical trial, and was performed from the hospital perspective. Methods: Clinical event rates were extrapolated from the observed venographic DVT rates, using appropriate assumptions from the scientific literature. The economic effects of switching DVT prophylaxis from UFH to dermatan sulfate and the potential lives saved were assessed by a predictive decision model. Results: The per patient cost, including the burden of residual thromboembolic events and major bleeding complications, was estimated to be 154 euros (EUR) for dermatan sulfate and EUR185 for UFH (1998 values). With reference to a potential target population of 60 000 patients/year undergoing surgery for cancer in Italy, the total prophylaxis-associated cost was EUR9 258 000 for dermatan sulfate and EUR11 096 000 for UFH, whereas the potential deaths from prophylaxis failure were 204 and 392, respectively. This represented a saving of EUR1 838 000 and 188 potential lives per year with the dermatan sulfate option. The final costs and effects were mainly sensitive to variations in the rates of DVT and pulmonary embolism, and to the possible need for 1 extra day of hospitalisation because of the earlier preoperative initiation of dermatan sulfate prophylaxis. Conclusion: dermatan sulfate is more cost effective than UFH for the prevention of postoperative venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer. If the hospital stay needs to be prolonged, then the dermatan sulfate option may involve a small additional cost (EUR47) per potential life saved.
Antithrombotics, Cost effectiveness, Dermatan sulfate, Heparin, Pharmacoeconomics, Research and development, Thromboembolism
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