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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2001 May;86(5):537-44.

Comparison of the cost-effectiveness of budesonide and sodium cromoglycate in the management of childhood asthma in everyday clinical practice.

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Health Economics and Outcomes Research, AstraZeneca R&D Lund, Sweden.



Budesonide and sodium cromoglycate are both recommended as maintenance therapy for childhood asthma.


To compare the cost-effectiveness of these two treatment strategies in clinical practice, in an open-label, pharmacoeconomic clinical trial.


Health economics were evaluated in 138 children, ages 5 to 11 years, with unstable asthma not previously treated with corticosteroids or cromones. The asthma was stabilized during 4 to 6 weeks with budesonide 200 to 400 microg twice daily. The children were then randomly allocated to one of the two treatment strategies aiming at maintaining asthma control for 12 months; budesonide 400 microg/day (N = 69) or sodium cromoglycate 60 mg/day (N = 69). If asthma control was judged unsatisfactory, the doses were increased or the children were switched to the alternate treatment.


In children continuing on the same treatment, the degree of asthma control was similar in the two groups at study end. To maintain asthma control, 42% of cromoglycate children switched to budesonide, and then experienced a 14% increase in symptom-free days. No budesonide patient had to switch therapy because of lack of asthma control. Although not statistically significant, total annual cost per patient was 24% (Swedish kronor 4195; US $487; Euro 485) lower in the budesonide than the cromoglycate group, mainly due to a lower cost for asthma medication.


A budesonide strategy for continued maintenance treatment, after an initial period of stabilizing treatment with budesonide, resulted in lower costs and less drug switches than did a strategy with sodium cromoglycate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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