Cost Effectiveness of Competing Strategies to Prevent or Treat GORD-Related Dysphagia
Objectives: The variety of influences that contribute to the occurrence of dysphagia in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) provide the physician with many options to intervene in the pathophysiology of the disease process. The aims of the present analysis were to compare the relationships between the costs and effectiveness of competing therapeutic interventions in preventing dysphagia. Methods: Dysphagia was modelled as the focal point of multiple influences leading to its development. The costs associated with different forms of drug therapy were based on the average wholesale prices listed in the Red Book of 1998. Procedural costs were estimated from Medicare reimbursements. Different treatment options were assessed by their incremental cost-effectiveness ratio. Results: Lifestyle modifications, treatment with prokinetic agents or antacids reduce the occurrence of dysphagia by 22, 21 or 25%, respectively. Acid inhibition results in a 57 to 89% reduction of dysphagia, depending on treatment with histamine-2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs) or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Oesophageal dilation results in a reduction ranging between 54 and 81%. The incremental ratio of cost effectiveness associated with prokinetic agents or H2RAs is much higher than that of PPIs. Based on the concept of extended dominance, therefore, prokinetic drugs and H2RAs do not constitute cost-effective means to prevent dysphagia and should be excluded in favour of treatment with PPIs. Conclusions: An economic analysis of various treatment strategies to reduce the risk of GORD-related dysphagia indicates that PPIs are the most cost-effective means to prevent its occurrence.
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