Cost-effectiveness, cost-utility and the budget impact of antidepressants versus preventive cognitive therapy with or without tapering of antidepressants
Hollon, Steven D.
Background As depression has a recurrent course, relapse and recurrence prevention is essential. Aims In our randomised controlled trial (registered with the Nederlands trial register, identifier: NTR1907), we found that adding preventive cognitive therapy (PCT)to maintenance anti-depressants (PCT+AD)yielded substantial protective effects versus antidepressants only in individuals with recurrent depression. Antidepressants were not superior to PCT while tapering antidepressants (PCT/-AD). To inform decision-makers on treatment allocation, we present the corresponding cost-effectiveness, cost-utility and budget impact. Method Data were analysed (n = 289) using a societal perspective with 24-months of follow-up, with depression-free days and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs)as health outcomes. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were calculated and cost-effectiveness planes and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves were derived to provide information about cost-effectiveness. The budget impact was examined with a health economic simulation model. Results Mean total costs over 24 months were (sic)6814, (sic)10 264 and (sic)13 282 for AD+PCT, antidepressants only and PCT/-AD, respectively. Compared with antidepressants only, PCT+AD resulted in significant improvements in depression-free days but not QALYs. Health gains did not significantly favour antidepressants only versus PCT/-AD. High probabilities were found that PCT+AD versus antidepressants only and antidepressants only versus PCT/-AD were dominant with low willingness-to-pay thresholds. The budget impact analysis showed decreased societal costs for PCT+AD versus antidepressants only and for antidepressants only versus PCT/-AD. Conclusions Adding PCT to antidepressants is cost-effective over 24 months and PCT with guided tapering of antidepressants in long-term users might result in extra costs. Future studies examining costs and effects of antidepressants versus psychological interventions over a longer period may identify a break-even point where PCT/-AD will become cost-effective.