Yes, carvedilol use does save money

Cost Management in Cardiac Care’s cover story for April was on carvedilol, which won preliminary approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). As the issue went to press, information about the drug’s cost-effectiveness had not been established.

An update on that story comes out of the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology held recently in Anaheim, CA. Researchers from the U.S. Carvedilol Heart Failure Trials Program undertook an economic evaluation and analyzed data that come out of the program from a cost-savings angle.1 At the meeting, they reported that adding carvedilol to conventional therapy for CHF — digoxin, diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors — is associated with a significant reduction in costs of hospitalization. Savings of almost two-thirds were estimated for carvedilol-treated patients as compared with conventional therapy alone.

The analysis showed that the mean per-patient cost of cardiovascular-related inpatient services was 62% lower among patients receiving carvedilol compared to those receiving placebo. The mean estimated cost for the carvedilol-treated group was $1,664, compared to $4,327 in the placebo-treated group. The researchers reported that 44% of the savings resulted from a reduction in the number of cardiovascular-related hospital admissions and a reduction in number of days hospitalized. This is significant considering that about 70% of the costs associated with caring for heart-failure patients is attributable to hospitalization.

Reference

1. Oster G, Menzin J, Richner RE, et al. Impact of carvedilol therapy for heart failure on costs of cardiovascular-related hospitalization. American College of Cardiology abstracts.