Background Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disabling and costly disease (see Belisari’s and Mantovani’s abstract). Glucosamine sulfate has shown to be effective in reducing the severity of OA as measured through the Lequesne index (LI).
Objectives To evaluate the the pharmacoeconomic profile of Glucosamine sulfate in Italy.
Methods Cost-benefit analysis of glucosamine sulfate use in the context of the Italian society. We compared 2 different pharmacological interventions in OA patients: piroxicam vs. glucosamine sulfate. We considered direct medical costs (e.g. treatment), direct non-medical (e.g. home adaptation, transport, etc.) and indirect (e.g. wage losses) costs. Costs are expressed in Euros 2000. Benefits were measured on the results of a reference randomised clinical trial. They were expressed in terms of LI score reduction, and were turned into monetary terms using the equation estimated in the study by Belisari and Mantovani, which shows a significant association between severity of the disease and costs (higher costs in more severe patients).
Results Although glucosamine sulfate therapy cost is higher than piroxicam one (81 vs. 33 Euros, the intervention with glucosamine sulfate resulted in a potential net saving of almost 11 Euro/patient in 90 days and 110 Euros/patient in 150 days attributable to its higher efficacy.
Conclusion Based on our estimates, glucosamine sulfate has a favourable cost benefit profile compared to piroxicam.
Rovati LC. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 1997;5(Suppl A):72
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