Published in the April 15 issue of Arthritis Care and Research, the clinical journal of the American College of Rheumatology, the study used a sophisticated economic model to develop patient scenarios and compare costs of the following three therapies often used for treating pain from chronic arthritis: 1) a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug alone, such as Naproxen or Ibuprofen; 2) a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug combined with an acid-reducing drug (proton pump inhibitor) such as Prevacid or Nexium; and 3) a Cox-2 inhibitor (cyclooxygenase 2-selective inhibitor) alone, such as Vioxx or Celebrex.
The study marks the first time researchers have looked at the cost-effectiveness of a popular combination of two drugs and also included other factors that may affect therapy, such as aspirin use and the risk of complications such as heart attack.
According to researchers, the study also looked at the health economic consequences of heart attacks related to Cox-2 inhibitors like Vioxx. The study, completed a year before Vioxx was removed from the market, not only predicted the cardiovascular complications, but also demonstrated that a combination therapy of two other drugs may prove more cost-effective and safer than Cox-2s.
"The study is one of the first to assess the most relevant therapies for high-risk arthritis patients," said Dr. Brennan M.R. Spiegel, study author and co-director, Center for the Study of Digestive Healthcare Quality and Outcomes and assistant professor of medicine, David Geffe
Contact: Rachel Champeau
University of California - Los Angeles