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Support Care Cancer. 2005 Dec;13(12):975-86. Epub 2005 May 4.

Cost-effectiveness of oral ibandronate compared with intravenous (i.v.) zoledronic acid or i.v. generic pamidronate in breast cancer patients with metastatic bone disease undergoing i.v. chemotherapy.

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The MEDTAP Institute at UBC, 20 Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1A 2NS, UK.



Ibandronate is the first third-generation bisphosphonate to have both oral and intravenous (i.v.) efficacy. An incremental cost-effectiveness model compared oral ibandronate with i.v. zoledronic acid and i.v. generic pamidronate in female breast cancer patients with metastatic bone disease, undergoing i.v. chemotherapy.


A global economic model was adapted to the UK National Health Service (NHS), with primary outcomes of direct healthcare costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). Efficacy, measured as relative risk reduction of skeletal-related events (SREs), was obtained from clinical trials. Resource use data for i.v. bisphosphonates and the cost of managing SREs were obtained from published studies. Hospital management and SRE treatment costs were taken from unit cost databases. Monthly drug acquisition costs were obtained from the British National Formulary. Utility scores were applied to time with/without an SRE to adjust survival for quality of life. Model design and inputs were validated through expert UK clinician review.


Total cost, including drug acquisition, was pound 386 less per patient with oral ibandronate vs. i.v. zoledronic acid and pound 224 less vs. i.v. generic pamidronate. Oral ibandronate gained 0.019 and 0.02 QALYs vs. i.v. zoledronic acid and i.v. pamidronate, respectively, making it the economically dominant option. At a threshold of pound 30,000 per QALY, oral ibandronate was cost-effective vs. zoledronic acid in 85% of simulations and vs. pamidronate in 79%.


Oral ibandronate is a cost-effective treatment for metastatic bone disease from breast cancer due to reduced SREs, bone pain, and cost savings from avoidance of resource use commonly associated with bisphosphonate infusions.

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