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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Alteplase: a pharmacoeconomic evaluation of its use in the management of myocardial infarction.

Alteplase (recombinant tissue plasminogen activator; rt-PA) is a thrombolytic agent that when given in an accelerated regimen with intravenous heparin has survival advantages compared with streptokinase in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction, as shown by the results of the Global Utilisation of Streptokinase and Tissue Plasminogen Activator for Occluded Coronary Arteries (GUSTO) trial. Although alteplase is more fibrin-specific than streptokinase, alteplase therapy is associated with a small relative increase in the incidence of haemorrhagic stroke, but appears to cause a small relative decrease in the incidence of major bleeding. Because alteplase has a higher acquisition cost than alternative thrombolytic agents, analyses have been undertaken to assess whether administration of alteplase after myocardial infarction is a cost-effective use of healthcare resources. In retrospective analyses undertaken before completion of the GUSTO trial, it was generally assumed, on the basis of better 90-minute patency rates, that alteplase would provide survival advantages compared with streptokinase or conventional nonthrombolytic therapy. Alteplase had acceptable cost-effectiveness ratios compared with conventional therapy and streptokinase therapy from both third-party payer and hospital perspectives. Subgroup analyses demonstrated that alteplase was more cost effective when given early after symptom onset and when given to patients with large infarcts. Prospective evaluations of the cost effectiveness of alteplase in 3-hour and accelerated regimens have similarly demonstrated that alteplase therapy after myocardial infarction improves survival at an 'acceptable' cost. The largest prospective evaluation undertaken to date was performed in conjunction with the GUSTO trial. Primary analysis, on the basis of the clinical findings of the GUSTO trial and prospective collection of cost data from US patients, revealed that the cost-effectiveness ratio for accelerated alteplase therapy compared with streptokinase was $US32,687 (1993 dollars) per year of life saved (YLS). This value is most relevant for US patients and lies within the definition of 'cost effective' if $US50,000/YLS is the benchmark for acceptable use of resources. The cost-effectiveness ratio for alteplase was most sensitive to assumptions regarding long term survival and cost differences after the first year following treatment. In subgroup analyses, alteplase was a cost-effective treatment option for all elderly patients (> 60 years of age) and all patients > 40 years of age with anterior infarction. Alteplase therapy appears to have in-hospital costs/charges similar to those for primary percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), mainly because PTCA appears to have a favourable effect on duration of hospitalisation. Given the technical expertise and facilities required for PTCA, it is likely that thrombolytic therapy will remain the management option of choice in most centres. In conclusion, under the conditions of the GUSTO study, accelerated alteplase in combination with intravenous heparin confers survival advantages compared with streptokinase therapy. While decision-makers must choose how best to use their available healthcare resources, pharmacoeconomic evaluations have confirmed that, on the basis of accepted benchmark values, alteplase therapy is a cost-effective therapeutic option for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction, especially in elderly patients with either anterior or inferior infarcts and nearly all patients with anterior myocardial infarction. Thus, on the basis of clinical and economic data, predominantly provided by the GUSTO trial, alteplase is a cost-effective first-line management option for acute myocardial infarction.[1]


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