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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Sep;101(3):316-24. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60498-X.

Cost-effectiveness of specific subcutaneous immunotherapy in patients with allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma.

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  • 1Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité-University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany.



Specific immunotherapy is the only potentially curative treatment in patients with allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. Health economic evaluations on this treatment, particularly in a German context, are sparse.


To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of specific subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) in addition to symptomatic treatment (ST) compared with ST alone in a German health care setting.


The analysis was performed as a health economic model calculation based on Markov models. In addition, we performed a concomitant expert board composed of allergy experts in pediatrics, dermatology, pneumology, and otolaryngology. The primary perspective of the study was societal. Additional sensitivity analyses were performed to prove our results for robustness.


The SCIT and ST combination was associated with annual cost savings of Euro140 per patient. After 10 years of disease duration, SCIT and ST reach the breakeven point. The overall incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was Euro-19,787 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY), with a range that depended on patient age (adults, Euro-22,196; adolescents, Euro-14,747; children, Euro-12,750). From a third-party payer's perspective, SCIT was associated with slightly additional costs. Thus, the resulting ICER was Euro8,308 per QALY for all patients.


Additional SCIT was associated with improved medical outcomes and cost savings compared with symptomatic treatment alone according to a societal perspective. Taking a European accepted ICER threshold of up to Euro50,000 per QALY into account, additional SCIT is considered clearly cost-effective compared with routine care in Germany. The degree of cost-effectiveness is strongly affected by costs related to SCIT and the target population receiving such treatment.

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