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Pharmacoeconomics. 1997 Jun;11(6):550-65.

A pharmacoeconomic analysis of patients with symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

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  • 1Center for Pharmacoeconomic Studies and Outcomes Research, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA.


A pharmacoeconomic analysis of therapies for patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) was conducted. The therapies compared were androgenic hormone inhibition (finasteride) and alpha-blockade (doxazosin, prazosin and terazosin). This was a cost-effectiveness analysis from the perspective of the US military. The 36-month decision-tree model considered the aforementioned drugs as initial therapy for BPH following an unsuccessful period of watchful waiting. Therapy was continued toward a successful response. All patients who did not respond to therapy received secondary interventions, including transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). The main outcome measures were clinical effectiveness and incurred costs. A Monte Carlo sensitivity analysis was performed on all cost-effectiveness ratios. The model and sensitivity analysis supported prazosin as the most cost effective alpha-blocker over finasteride: the mean difference was $US381.65 (1994 values) per successfully treated patient, with a range of $US57.83 to $US675.53, in favour of prazosin. If prazosin was used as initial drug therapy after watchful waiting for a man over 50 years of age with classical symptoms of prostatism and no other severe or confounding comorbid conditions, a cost of $US578.15 per treatment could be expected, with clinical effectiveness of 70.3%. Patients who cannot tolerate prazosin should be considered for terazosin therapy before moving on from alpha-blockers. Subsequent treatment with finasteride would cost $US1426.53, with an additional clinical effectiveness of 9.9%. For the small number of patients who fail both therapies, the cost effectiveness of a first TURP as 'third-line' intervention [$US4321.36 for an additional effectiveness of 8.62% and a repeat TURP as 'fourth-line' ($US7650.54 for 0.59%) interventional] was calculated in a similar manner. Costs were cumulative, and effectiveness was derived from the total number of patients who started prazosin therapy. Pharmacological therapy was more cost effective than surgical intervention, and alpha-blockers were more cost effective than finasteride. Among the alpha-blockers, prazosin was by far the most cost effective followed by terazosin, then doxazosin.

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