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OBJECTIVE: This study set out to assess the cost effectiveness of using a 5% lidocaine (lignocaine) medicated plaster for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) compared with gabapentin, pregabalin 300 mg/day or 600 mg/day in German primary care. The analysis took the perspective of the Statutory Health Insurance scheme (GKV). METHODS: A Markov model was used to calculate the costs (2007) and benefits of the lidocaine plaster, gabapentin 1800 mg/day and pregabalin 300 or 600 mg/day over a 6-month time horizon in elderly patients with PHN who experienced insufficient pain relief with standard analgesics and could not tolerate or had contraindications to tricyclic antidepressants. The model calculated the cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained and the cost per additional month without symptoms or intolerable adverse effects. The majority of transition probabilities were obtained from randomized controlled trials identified from a systematic literature review. Further model inputs, including resource use, concomitant medication and long-term efficacy/adherence data, were obtained from a Delphi panel. Utility values were taken from a previous study and age adjusted. Cost data were obtained from official price tariffs. Mortality, indirect costs and costs associated with inpatient treatment were not considered in the present analysis due to the perspective and time horizon employed. RESULTS: Over the 6-month period modelled, the mean total therapy cost per patient treated with the lidocaine plaster was euro911, compared with euro728 for gabapentin, euro875 for pregabalin 300 mg/day and euro977 for pregabalin 600 mg/day. Treatment with the lidocaine plaster was related to greater numbers of QALYs and more months without symptoms or intolerable adverse effects (mean 0.300 QALYs and 4.06 months per patient) than with gabapentin (mean 0.247 QALYs and 2.72 months), pregabalin 300 mg/day (mean 0.253 QALYs and 3.02 months) or pregabalin 600 mg/day (mean 0.256 QALYs and 3.22 months). The lidocaine plaster cost euro3453/QALY gained and euro137 per additional month without adverse effects or symptoms relative to gabapentin and euro766/QALY and euro35 per month without adverse effects or symptoms relative to pregabalin 300 mg/day. The lidocaine plaster dominated pregabalin 600 mg/day, being less costly and more effective. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis indicated that there is a 99.36% chance that the lidocaine plaster is the most clinically effective treatment considered in the analysis and a 99.09% chance that the lidocaine plaster is the most cost-effective treatment of the four therapies considered in the analysis if the GKV is willing to pay at least euro20 000/QALY gained. Extensive deterministic sensitivity analyses demonstrated that the findings are robust. CONCLUSIONS: The 5% lidocaine-medicated plaster is a cost-effective treatment option for the management of PHN in Germany compared with gabapentin and both 300 and 600 mg/day of pregabalin.

Original publication





Clin Drug Investig

Publication Date





583 - 601


Administration, Cutaneous, Amines, Analgesics, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids, Delphi Technique, Drug Costs, Endpoint Determination, Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists, Gabapentin, Germany, Lidocaine, Markov Chains, Models, Economic, Models, Statistical, National Health Programs, Neuralgia, Postherpetic, Pain Measurement, Pregabalin, Quality-Adjusted Life Years, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid