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Pharmacoeconomics. 1992 Feb;1(2):124-45.

Simvastatin: a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of its cost-effectiveness in hypercholesterolaemia and prevention of coronary heart disease.

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  • 1Adis International Limited, Auckland, New Zealand.


Epidemiological and intervention study results support reduction of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, and hence direct and indirect costs, by lowering plasma lipids. Cost-effectiveness of a lipid-lowering strategy thus depends significantly on the extent of plasma lipid decrease achieved. The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor simvastatin is a well tolerated and highly effective antihyperlipidaemic agent. Despite a current lack of direct evidence that simvastatin reduces CHD incidence, the cost-effectiveness of the drug {in terms of years of life saved (YOLS)} has been studied, based on findings of epidemiological trials. Simvastatin 20 mg/day is more cost-effective than cholestyramine 4g 3 times daily, particularly in men and in those with a higher pretreatment cholesterol level ( greater than 8 mmol/L) and other risk factors. Cost-effectiveness is also enhanced if treatment is started at a younger age (35 to 45 years) and maintained for a defined period rather than lifelong. Thus, while additional direct comparative studies are needed to confirm this finding, present evidence suggests simvastatin is a cost-effective intervention in appropriately selected patients.

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