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J Hypertens. 2005 Jul;23(7):1425-31.

Cost effectiveness of losartan in patients with hypertension and LVH: an economic evaluation for Sweden of the LIFE trial.

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  • 1Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden. Bengt.Jonsson@HHS.SE



Evaluate the cost effectiveness of losartan compared with atenolol from a Swedish national health system perspective.


The Losartan Intervention For Endpoint reduction in hypertension study (LIFE) was a double-masked, randomized trial of losartan versus atenolol in 9193 patients with essential hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) ascertained by electrocardiography. Losartan reduced the primary composite end point of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction (MI), or stroke by 13% (P = 0.021) and reduced the risk of stroke by 25% (P = 0.001), despite a comparable degree of blood pressure control.


Life years gained was estimated by combining the absolute risk reduction in stroke with the life years gained by preventing stroke. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained was estimated by combining the absolute risk reduction in stroke with the QALYs gained by preventing stroke. QALYs were estimated by weighting life years by health-related quality of life (QoL), as measured with visual analogue scale (VAS) data collected in the trial. Net costs were defined as the total of study medication cost, stroke-related costs, and costs of increased survival. Costs are in 2003 Swedish prices. All costs and effects were discounted at a 3% annual rate.


Prevention of a stroke resulted in a gain of 5.7 life years and 4.3 QALYs. As a consequence, losartan treatment resulted in a per patient increase of 0.092 life years [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.038, 0.146] and 0.069 QALYs (95% CI: 0.028, 0.109) as compared with atenolol treatment. Losartan reduced direct stroke-related cost per patient by 1141 euros due to a lower cumulative incidence of stroke for losartan at 5.5 years (4.9%) as compared with atenolol (6.5%) (95% CI of difference: 0.7, 2.5). The reduction in stroke-related cost offset 80% of the added cost of losartan drug therapy. After inclusion of study medication cost, net cost per patient was 289 euros higher for losartan than atenolol. The net cost per QALY gained for losartan was 4188 euros (37,813 SEK), which is well within common Swedish benchmark upper values (200-500,000 SEK) for accepted cost-effective interventions.


Based on the results from the LIFE trial, treatment with losartan compared with atenolol, in hypertensive patients with LVH, is a cost-effective intervention.

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