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Clin Drug Investig. 2006;26(1):1-11.

Cost effectiveness of levocetirizine in chronic idiopathic urticaria : a pooled analysis of two randomised controlled trials.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Hannover Medical University, Hannover, Germany.



Chronic idiopathic urticaria is a distressing condition that severely affects patients' quality of life. The overall costs associated with this disease, both for the healthcare payer and society, are unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost effectiveness of levocetirizine, a first-line treatment for urticaria.


Data were collected from two placebo-controlled trials and from official French databases. The effectiveness of the treatment was assessed by the mean number of pruritus-free days experienced by the patient within a 30-day period (PFD30). Direct cost parameters were medications used, medical procedures and hospitalisations for urticaria or treatment of adverse events. Productivity cost parameters were the workdays lost, defined as absenteeism and/or presenteeism, resulting from urticaria. The costing was performed using a French societal perspective. Costs were reported in euro (2002 values) and were standardised to a 30-day month. Whenever possible, incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were derived from these data.


The pooled sample contained 294 patients. Compared with placebo, patients in the levocetirizine group experienced an additional mean 6.5 (95% CI 3.8, 9.3) pruritus-free days per month (p < 0.001). Considering only direct medical costs, the incremental cost of treatment with levocetirizine was totally offset by the reduction in other medical costs (i.e. reduced cost of additional medications, medical procedures and hospitalisations). From the perspective of society, treatment with levocetirizine was cost saving, with a net gain of Euro 91.93 per patient per month.


Treating chronic idiopathic urticaria with levocetirizine is a dominant strategy for society since it is more effective (in terms of pruritus-free days gained) and less costly than placebo.

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