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OBJECTIVE: To determine how small differences in the efficacy and cost of two antibiotic regimens to eradicate Helicobacter pylori can affect the overall cost effectiveness of H pylori eradication in duodenal ulcer disease. DESIGN: A decision analysis to examine the cost effectiveness of eight H pylori eradication strategies for duodenal ulcer disease with and without 13C-urea breath testing to confirm eradication. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Cumulative direct treatment costs per 100 patients with duodenal ulcer disease who were positive for H pylori. RESULTS: In model 1 the strategy of omeprazole, clarithromycin, and metronidazole alone was the most cost effective of the four strategies assessed. The addition of the 13C-urea breath test and a second course of omeprazole, clarithromycin, and metronidazole achieved the highest eradication rate (97%) but was the most expensive (62.63 pounds per patient). The cost of each additional effective eradication was 589.00 pounds (incremental cost per case) when compared with the cost of treating once only with omeprazole, clarithromycin, and metronidazole; equivalent to the cost of a patient receiving ranitidine for duodenal ulcer relapse for more than 15 years. Eradication strategies of omeprazole, amoxycillin, and metronidazole were less cost effective than omeprazole, clarithromycin, and metronidazole alone. In model 2 the addition of the 13C-urea breath test after treatment, and maintenance treatment, increased the cost of all the strategies and reduced the cost advantage of omeprazole, clarithromycin, and metronidazole alone. CONCLUSION: Small differences in efficacy can influence the comparative cost effectiveness of strategies for eradicating H pylori. Of the strategies tested the most cost effective (omeprazole, clarithromycin, and metronidazole alone) was neither the least expensive (omeprazole, amoxycillin, and metronidazole alone) nor the most effective (omeprazole, clarithromycin, and metronidazole with further treatment for patients found positive for H pylori on 13C-urea breath testing). Cost effectiveness should be an important part of choosing an eradication strategy for H pylori.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Bmj

Publication Date

30/05/1998

Volume

316

Pages

1648 - 1654

Keywords

Breath Tests, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Decision Support Techniques, Drug Costs, Duodenal Ulcer, Family Practice, Helicobacter Infections, Helicobacter pylori, Humans, Sensitivity and Specificity