Acamprosate: Pharmacoeconomic Implications of Therapy
Rachel H. Foster
Karen J. McClellan
_ Acamprosate is thought to reduce the craving for alcohol. The drug helps to maintain abstinence in alcohol-dependent patients who have successfully undergone detoxification. Abstinence rates during 3 to 12 months' treatment with acamprosate were approximately double those with placebo in most clinical trials, although abstinence rates were generally still <50% in patients assigned to receive acamprosate. _ The drug is generally well tolerated, with the most common adverse effect being diarrhoea. _ In a German cost-effectiveness model, a treatment programme including acamprosate was the dominant strategy, producing a lifetime cost saving of 2602 Deutschmarks (1992 to 1995 values) per additional abstinent patient compared with treatment without acamprosate. _ In a Belgian pharmacoeconomic model, total direct medical costs over 2 years were 21 301 Belgian francs (1997 values) per patient lower with a treatment programme including acamprosate than treatment without acamprosate in alcohol-dependent patients. _ The main factors in the cost savings with acamprosate in these models were reduced costs for acute hospitalisation and rehabilitation/follow-up. _ The results of a cost-benefit analysis that considered both direct and indirect costs for the total alcohol-dependent population in Spain were consistently in favour of acamprosate. The lifetime net benefit for acamprosate over placebo (the incremental benefit) ranged between 61 642 million and 99 069 million pesetas (1996 values) in various scenarios with 40 to 60% of patients receiving treatment.
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