The PCI-CURE (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention-Clopidogrel in Unstable Angina to Prevent Recurrent Events) and CREDO (Clopidogrel for the Reduction of Events During Observation) studies have demonstrated that, in addition to aspirin, pre-treatment with clopidogrel followed by long-term (i.e. 9-12 months) therapy significantly reduces the risk of atherothrombotic events in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
To examine the economic implications, from the Dutch healthcare perspective, of the use of clopidogrel in patients undergoing PCI (elective procedures or in patients with acute coronary syndrome), comparing pre-treatment followed by long-term therapy with only 4 weeks of treatment.
A lifetime Markov model was used to combine data from the PCI-CURE and CREDO trials with data from the literature concerning epidemiology, costs and quality of life. The model was run separately for each trial. Only direct healthcare costs (euro, year 2004 values) were considered. Costs and outcomes were discounted at 4% per anum. For each trial, the cost effectiveness is expressed as costs per life-year and QALY gained. Uncertainties are addressed by uni- and probabilistic multivariate sensitivity analysis.
When starting with the data from the PCI-CURE trial, pre-treatment plus 9-month clopidogrel therapy was predicted to save 1119 euros and gain 0.03 life-years and 0.07 QALYs per patient compared with short-term treatment. When starting with the data from the CREDO trial, the combination of pre-treatment and prolonged clopidogrel therapy (1 year) was estimated to save 497 euros and gain 0.10 life-years and 0.14 QALYs per patient. Univariate and probabilistic multivariate sensitivity analyses suggested that the conclusions were generally robust, but that the expected gain in survival for the PCI-CURE population was very sensitive to the effects on mortality within the combined endpoint of myocardial infarction/stroke-free survival.
In The Netherlands, pre-treatment plus long-term (9-12 months) therapy with clopidogrel is estimated to save costs and increase (quality-adjusted) survival in the prevention of ischaemic events among patients undergoing elective PCI (CREDO) and in patients with acute coronary syndrome (PCI-CURE) compared with short-term treatment with clopidogrel without pre-treatment.