A cost-benefit analysis using a willingness-to-pay questionnaire of intranasal budesonide for seasonal allergic rhinitis
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BACKGROUND: The cost-benefit of intranasal steroids for the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis is unknown. OBJECTIVE: To determine the cost-benefit of intranasal budesonide for seasonal allergic rhinitis. METHODS: Subjects who were symptomatic for a baseline period of 7 to 10 days were randomized to receive intranasal budesonide by Turbuhaler (400 microg) (n = 121) or aqueous spray (256 microg) (n = 121) once daily for 4 weeks. A willingness-to-pay questionnaire that measured benefits of treatment was administered before and at study completion. Costs were collected and compared with benefits. RESULTS: Subjects were willing to spend on average $15.89/wk (range $1 to $75) to alleviate the problems of seasonal ragweed rhinitis. Eighty percent of subjects felt that, with treatment, rhinitis had less of an impact on their lives, compared with previous years. The mean willingness-to-pay for the drug used during another ragweed season was $12.95/wk. This was 92% (95% CI, 85% to 100%) of the pre-treatment estimate. There was no relationship between an indirect assessment of income and willingness-to-pay estimates. The benefit was greater than the cost by a mean of $5.80/wk (95% CI, $3.52 to 8.08), P < .0001. There was no difference in costs, willingness-to-pay, or cost-benefit comparing delivery modes. A sensitivity analysis revealed the conclusions were robust. CONCLUSIONS: Intranasal budesonide is cost-beneficial in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis and a willingness-to-pay questionnaire may provide a useful method to assess a therapy's benefit.