Cost-effectiveness of inhaled beta-agonists v. oral salbutamol in asthma: a randomized double-blind cross-over study. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: Oral beta-stimulants are widely used in the management of chronic asthma in India, in spite of evidence suggesting the superiority of inhaled medication in achieving maximum bronchodilatation. An economic evaluation was performed in a randomized double-blind cross-over trial to evaluate the role of adjuvant oral beta-stimulants in the treatment of asthma. METHODS: Patients who had seasonal or perennial asthma and were using metered dose inhalers for control of symptoms were randomly selected for the study. They received either 4 mg of oral salbutamol or placebo as adjuvant treatment. During the study they controlled their symptoms by adjusting the dose of the inhaler medication. A cost minimization technique was used to assess the economic impact of this intervention in the treatment and control periods. A sensitivity analysis was performed to assess the robustness of the conclusions. RESULTS: The mean cost was significantly greater in the treatment period and a patient lost approximately Rs 20 per month (CI: 13 to 27; p = 0.001) as a result of the adjuvant treatment. There was no significant difference in the quality of life or peak expiratory flow rate during the two periods. The patients also noted mild but significantly increased tremors (p = 0.01) and palpitations (p = 0.001) during the treatment period. There was no treatment-to-period interaction. CONCLUSION: Adjuvant oral beta-agonists do not improve the quality of life or bronchodilatation in asthmatics using an inhaled beta-agonist for control of symptoms.

publication date

  • July 1996