Clopidogrel: A Pharmacoeconomic Review of its Use in Patients with Non-ST Elevation Acute Coronary Syndromes
Katherine A. Lyseng-Williamson
Greg L. Plosker
Clopidogrel (Plavix(R)) is a selective inhibitor of adenosine diphosphate-induced platelet aggregation. In patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) [unstable angina or non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction], clopidogrel plus aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) for up to 1 year significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular events relative to placebo plus aspirin in the well designed clinical trial CURE (Clopidogrel in Unstable angina to prevent Recurrent Events) and its substudy in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) [PCI-CURE]. In pharmacoeconomic evaluations based on data from these trials conducted in a number of countries that used a variety of models, methods and/or type of costs, clopidogrel plus aspirin was consistently predicted to be cost effective relative to aspirin alone in the management of patients with ACS, including those undergoing PCI. Clopidogrel plus aspirin in patients with ACS reduced the incremental cost per cardiovascular event prevented and/or life-year gained (LYG) relative to aspirin alone in analyses using within-trial data (including longer-term analyses incorporating life-expectancy estimates) from the CURE or PCI-CURE studies. In Markov models of cost effectiveness with a lifetime horizon from a healthcare payer perspective based on the CURE trial, relative to aspirin alone, clopidogrel plus aspirin for 1 year was predicted to have incremental costs per LYG of _8132 in Spain (2003 values) and _1365 in Sweden (2000 values). In similar Swedish analyses from a healthcare payer perspective, clopidogrel plus aspirin for 1 year was predicted to have incremental costs per LYG of _10_993 (2004 values) relative to aspirin alone based on data from the PCI-CURE substudy. Broadly similar results have also been reported in modelled analyses from other countries. Cost-utility analyses based on the CURE trial suggest that, relative to lifelong aspirin alone, clopidogrel plus aspirin for 1 year followed by aspirin alone is associated with incremental costs per QALY gained that are below the traditional threshold of cost utility in Spain, the UK and the US. In patients with ACS, including those undergoing PCI, the addition of clopidogrel to standard therapy with aspirin is clinically effective in preventing cardiovascular events. Available pharmacoeconomic data from several countries, despite some inherent limitations, support the use of clopidogrel plus aspirin for up to 1 year as a cost-effective treatment relative to aspirin alone in this patient population.
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