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Can J Cardiol. 2013 Oct;29(10):1249-55. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2013.01.016. Epub 2013 Apr 24.

Cost-effectiveness of dronedarone in patients with atrial fibrillation in the ATHENA trial.

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OptumInsight, Stockholm, Sweden; Division of Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Solna, Sweden. Electronic address:



The ATHENA trial randomized 4628 patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) or atrial flutter, aged ≥ 70 years with risk factors or ≥ 75 years without risk factors, to receive 400 mg dronedarone twice daily or placebo in addition to standard therapy. Our objective was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of dronedarone from a Canadian health care perspective based on resource utilization and cardiovascular hospitalization or death in ATHENA.


Data on medical resource utilization (cardiovascular hospitalizations, hospitalization because of treatment-related adverse events, outpatient examinations and procedures, study drug and concomitant medications) were aggregated for all randomized patients during the entire trial period (mean 21 months). Effectiveness was measured using the total number of avoided cardiovascular hospitalizations and deaths from any cause, and projected survival and quality-adjusted survival using life tables adjusted for AF mortality and data on determinants of utility in AF. We used standard unit costs from Canada (2008), discounting costs and effects at 5% per year.


Patients receiving dronedarone incurred a mean total cost (undiscounted) of CAD $7402 during the trial period, compared with CAD $6708 for patients receiving placebo. The cost of dronedarone was partly offset by savings for cardiovascular hospitalizations and concomitant medications. On average, patients taking dronedarone experienced 0.18 fewer events (cardiovascular hospitalizations or death). The cost per event avoided was CAD $3807, the cost per life-year gained was CAD $5204, and the cost per quality-adjusted life-years was CAD $7560.


Compared with generally accepted thresholds, our results indicate that treatment with dronedarone as in ATHENA is cost-effective.

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