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Objectives: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of topical intranasal steroids for the treatment of otitis media with effusion (OME) in primary care from the perspective of the UK National Health Service. Methods: An economic evaluation was conducted based on evidence from the double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled GPRF [General Practice Research Framework] Nasal Steroids for Otitis Media with Effusion (GNOME) trial. Participants comprised 217 children aged 4-11 years who had at least one episode of otitis media or related ear problem in the previous 12 months and had tympanometrically confirmed bilateral OME. Children were randomly allocated to receive either mometasone furoate 50 mu g or placebo spray once daily into each nostril for 3 months. The main outcome measure was the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained for topical steroids compared with placebo. The nonparametric bootstrap method was used to present cost-effectiveness acceptability curves at alternative willingness to pay thresholds. Results: Children receiving topical steroids accrued nonsignificantly higher costs (incremental cost/child: 11 pound, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -199 pound to 222) pound and nonsignificantly fewer QALYs (incremental QALY gain/child: -0.0166, 95% CI: -0.0652 to 0.0320) than those receiving placebo. Topical steroids had a 24.19% probability of being cost-effective at a 20,000 pound per QALY gained threshold, a 23.82% probability of being more effective and a 46.25% probability of being less costly. Sensitivity and subgroup analyses showed incremental costs and benefits to be highly sensitive to the methods used and the patient group considered, although differences between groups did not reach statistical significance in any analysis. Conclusions: Topical steroids are unlikely to be a cost-effective treatment for OME in general practice.

Original publication





Value in Health

Publication Date





543 - 551


cost-effectiveness cost-utility analysis otitis media with effusion randomized controlled trial preschool-children index corticosteroids multiattribute placebo system care