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Cost effectiveness of carvedilol for heart failure

      Abstract

      In this study, we examine the cost effectiveness of carvedilol for the treatment of chronic heart failure (CHF). We use a Markov model to project life expectancy and lifetime medical care costs for a hypothetical cohort of patients with CHF who were assumed alternatively to receive carvedilol plus conventional therapy (digoxin, diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) or conventional therapy alone. Patients on carvedilol were assumed to experience a reduced risk of death and hospitalization for CHF, which is consistent with findings from the US Carvedilol Heart Failure Trials Program. The benefits of carvedilol were projected under 2 alternative scenarios. In the first (“limited benefits”), benefits were conservatively assumed to persist for 6 months, the average duration of follow-up in these clinical trials, and then end abruptly. In the other (“extended benefits”), they were arbitrarily assumed to persist for 6 months and then decline gradually over time, vanishing by the end of 3 years. We estimated our model using data from the US Carvedilol Heart Failure Trials Program and other sources. For patients receiving conventional therapy alone, estimated life expectancy was 6.67 years; corresponding figures for those also receiving carvedilol were 6.98 and 7.62 years under the limited and extended benefits scenarios, respectively. Expected lifetime costs of CHF-related care were estimated to be $28,756 for conventional therapy, and $36,420 and $38,867 for carvedilol (limited and extended benefits, respectively). Cost per life-year saved for carvedilol was $29,477 and $12,799 under limited and extended benefits assumptions, respectively. The cost effectiveness of carvedilol for CHF compares favorably to that of other generally accepted medical interventions, even under conservative assumptions regarding the duration of therapeutic benefit.
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