Spotlight on the Pharmacoeconomics of Candesartan Cilexetil in Chronic Heart Failure and Hypertension
Greg L. Plosker
Susan J. Keam
The addition of candesartan cilexetil (Atacand(R), Amias(R), Blopress(R), Kenzen(R), Ratacand(R)) to standard therapy for chronic heart failure (CHF) provided important clinical benefits at little or no additional cost in France, Germany, and the UK, according to a detailed economic analysis focusing on major cardiovascular events and prospectively collected resource-use data from the CHARM-Added and CHARM-Alternative trials in patients with CHF and left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction. Results of a corresponding cost-effectiveness analysis showed that candesartan cilexetil was either dominant over placebo or was associated with small incremental costs per life-year gained, depending on the country and whether individual trial or pooled data were used. Preliminary data from a US cost-effectiveness analysis based on CHARM data also showed favorable results for candesartan cilexetil. Two cost-effectiveness analyses of candesartan cilexetil in hypertension have been published, both conducted in Sweden. Data from the SCOPE trial in elderly patients with hypertension, which showed a significant reduction in nonfatal stroke with candesartan cilexetil-based therapy versus non-candesartan cilexetil-based treatment, were incorporated into a Markov model and an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of _12_824 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained was calculated (2001 value). Another modelled cost-effectiveness analysis of candesartan cilexetil was based on the ALPINE trial, in which the incidence of new-onset diabetes was significantly lower in patients with newly diagnosed hypertension who were randomized to candesartan cilexetil (with or without felodipine) than among those who received hydrochlorothiazide (with or without atenolol). Although candesartan cilexetil was dominant over hydrochlorothiazide, the ALPINE cost-effectiveness analysis relied on a small number of clinical events and did not evaluate the incremental cost of candesartan cilexetil per life-year or QALY gained. In conclusion, despite some inherent limitations, economic analyses incorporating CHARM data and conducted primarily in Europe have shown that candesartan cilexetil appears to be cost effective when added to standard CHF treatment in patients with CHF and compromized LV systolic function. The use of candesartan cilexetil as part of antihypertensive therapy in elderly patients with elevated blood pressure was also deemed to be cost effective in a Swedish analysis, primarily resulting from a reduced risk of nonfatal stroke (as shown in the SCOPE study); however, the generalizability of results to other contexts has not been established. Cost-effectiveness analyses comparing candesartan cilexetil with ACE inhibitors or other angiotensin receptor blockers in CHF or hypertension are lacking, and results reported for candesartan cilexetil in a Swedish economic analysis of ALPINE data focusing on outcomes for diabetes require confirmation and extension.
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