Inhaled Fluticasone Propionate: A Pharmacoeconomic Review of its Use in the Management of Asthma
Harriet M. Lamb
Christine R. Culy
Contemporary asthma management guidelines list inhaled corticosteroids as the preferred controller medication for patients with persistent asthma. Despite the availability of explicit guidelines, there is evidence that these agents are underused and that guidelines are not always adhered to. Fluticasone propionate is one of several inhaled corticosteroids used for the treatment of asthma. Like other agents of its class, its efficacy is backed by extensive clinical data. More recently, the quality of life of recipients of fluticasone propionate and its relative cost effectiveness have been investigated. A series of comparative analyses show that inhaled fluticasone propionate is more cost effective than oral zafirlukast and triamcinolone acetonide and slightly more cost effective than flunisolide in adult patients with asthma. Analyses used cost per symptom-free day and/or cost per successfully treated patient as outcome measures and were generally conducted from the perspective of the third-party payer. When administered at a microgram dose of half or less than budesonide (as is therapeutically appropriate), the cost effectiveness of fluticasone propionate was similar to or better than that of budesonide. In children, fluticasone propionate was more cost effective per treatment success compared with inhaled sodium cromoglycate. Quality-of-life assessments in patients with mild to moderate disease show that inhaled fluticasone propionate achieved improvements which were deemed to be clinically meaningful in patients with mild to moderate asthma; these changes were significantly greater than those achieved with oral zafirlukast, inhaled triamcinolone acetonide or placebo. Greater improvements were evident with inhaled fluticasone propionate in patients with severe disease. Conclusions: In addition to the considerable body of clinical evidence supporting the use of inhaled fluticasone propionate in patients with asthma, accumulating short term cost-effectiveness data also suggest that this agent can be administered for a similar or lower cost per outcome than other inhaled corticosteroids or oral zafirlukast. Importantly, the clinical benefits offered by fluticasone propionate in patients with persistent asthma are accompanied by clinically significant improvements in quality of life.
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