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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2014 Dec;20(12):1343-51. doi: 10.1111/1469-0691.12805.

Cost-effectiveness analysis of treatment strategies for initial Clostridium difficile infection.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Northwest Pediatric Gastroenterology, LLC, Portland, OR.


Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is costly. Current guidelines recommend metronidazole as first-line therapy and vancomycin as an alternative. Recurrence is common. Faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an effective therapy for recurrent CDI (RCDI). This study explores the cost-effectiveness of FMT, vancomycin and metronidazole for initial CDI. We constructed a decision-analytic computer simulation using inputs from published literature to compare FMT with a 10-14-day course of oral metronidazole or vancomycin for initial CDI. Parameters included cure rates (baseline value (range)) for metronidazole (80% (65-85%)), vancomycin (90% (88-92%)) and FMT(91% (83-100%)). Direct costs of metronidazole, vancomycin and FMT, adjusted to 2011 dollars, were $57 ($43-72), $1347 ($1195-1499) and $1086 ($815-1358), respectively. Our effectiveness measure was quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted from the third-party payer perspective. Analysis using baseline values showed that FMT($1669, 0.242 QALYs) dominated (i.e. was less costly and more effective) vancomycin ($1890, 0.241 QALYs). FMT was more costly and more effective than metronidazole ($1167, 0.238 QALYs), yielding an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $124 964/QALY. One-way sensitivity analyses showed that metronidazole dominated both strategies if its probability of cure were >90%; FMT dominated if it cost <$584. In a probabilistic sensitivity analysis at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100 000/QALY, metronidazole was favoured in 55% of model iterations; FMT was favoured in 38%. Metronidazole, as the first-line treatment for CDIs, is less costly. FMT and vancomycin are more effective. However, FMT is less likely to be economically favourable, and vancomycin is unlikely to be favourable as first-line therapy when compared with FMT.


Colonoscopy; decision analysis; enteric infection; healthcare economics; stool transplant

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