Therapeutic Options in the Treatment of Multiple Myeloma: Pharmacoeconomic and Quality-of-Life Considerations
A review of current treatment options in multiple myeloma is presented, including data on health-related quality of life and pharmacoeconomics. For induction chemotherapy, no combination of cytostatic drugs has been shown to be consistently superior to the simple cyclic oral treatment with melphalan and prednisone that has been available for 30 years. The total resource consumption and direct costs per patient treated with melphalan and prednisone is approximately $US10 000 (1995 values). As median survival is prolonged from less than a year in untreated patients to 30 to 36 months, this treatment must be considered cost effective. Interferon-alpha has a modest effect on progression-free and overall survival when added to chemotherapy regimens. However, the high cost and toxicity of this drug results in an unfavourable cost-utility ratio, estimated to be between $US50 000 to $US100 000 per quality-adjusted life-year gained. Clinical trials suggest that high dose chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell support administered to patients who have achieved disease stabilisation or objective response to conventional induction chemotherapy, prolongs median survival by about 1.5 years. Preliminary cost-utility analyses suggest a cost per life-year gained of $US30 000 to $US40 000. Further potential improvements of this therapeutic modality are under way. Several bisphosphonates have been tested for the ability to prevent the skeletal complications of multiple myeloma. Monthly infusions of pamidronate have been shown in 1 randomised trial to significantly reduce the rate of skeletal complications. Unfortunately, the rapid and widespread acceptance of this therapy seems to preclude further prospective, placebo-controlled trials with cost-utility evaluation.
In order to set up a list of libraries that you have access to,
you must first login
or sign up.
Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by
clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen.