As-Needed Use of Short-Acting β2-Agonists Alone Versus As-Needed Use of Short-Acting β2-Agonists Plus Inhaled Corticosteroids in Pediatric Patients With Mild Intermittent (Step 1) Asthma: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis.
Rodríguez-Martínez CE., Sossa-Briceño MP., Buendia JA.
BACKGROUND: Although the efficacy of the as-needed use of short-acting β2-agonists (SABAs) plus inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) for treating children with mild intermittent asthma has been demonstrated, evidence of its cost-effectiveness is scarce. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present study was to compare the cost-effectiveness of the as-needed use of SABAs alone versus the as-needed use of SABAs plus ICS in children 5 to 11 years old with mild intermittent (step 1) asthma but suffering from an exacerbation of asthma symptoms. METHODS: A decision-analysis model was adapted. Effectiveness parameters were obtained from a randomized clinical trial. Cost data were obtained from hospital bills and from the national manual of drug prices in Colombia. The study was carried out from the perspective of the national health care system in Colombia. The main outcome of the model was a first course of prednisone for an asthma exacerbation (AE). RESULTS: Compared with the use of SABAs alone, the as-needed use of SABAs plus ICS was associated with lower overall treatment costs (US$17.99 vs US$27.94 mean cost per patient) and a higher probability of a lack of a requirement for a first course of prednisone (0.6500 vs 0.5100), thus showing dominance. CONCLUSIONS: In Colombia, compared with the use of albuterol alone, the use of beclomethasone dipropionate added to albuterol as needed for symptom relief is cost-effective in children 5 to 11 years old with mild intermittent (step 1) asthma, because it involves a higher probability of a lack of a requirement for prednisone for AE at lower total treatment costs.