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Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole in children with chronic otitis media: a randomized comparison of costs and effects.

Author(s): Boonacker CW, van der Veen EL, van der Wilt GJ, Schilder AG, Rovers MM

Affiliation(s): Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands. c.w.b.boonacker@umcutrecht.nl

Publication date & source: 2008-10, Otol Neurotol., 29(7):961-4.

Publication type: Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

OBJECTIVE: To study the cost-effectiveness of a 6- to 12-week course of high-dose oral trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole in children with chronic active otitis media (COM). STUDY DESIGN: Cost-effectiveness study including both direct and indirect costs alongside a randomized placebo-controlled trial. SETTING: Tertiary care university hospital in the Netherlands. PATIENTS: One hundred one children aged 1 to 12 years with a documented history of COM for at least 3 months. INTERVENTION: Six to 12 weeks of oral trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole 18 mg/kg twice daily versus placebo. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incremental cost-effectiveness in terms of costs per number needed to treat (NNT) to cure 1 patient (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio [ICER]). Curation was defined as no otomicroscopic signs of otorrhea in either ear. RESULTS: After 6 weeks of follow-up, the difference in mean cost per patient between the trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and placebo groups was Euro100 (US $126). The NNT was 4 (clinical effect), and the corresponding ICER was Euro400 (US $504), that is, the average extra costs to cure 1 child from otorrhea is Euro400 (US $504). After 12 weeks of follow-up, the difference in mean costs between both groups was Euro159 (US $201), the NNT was 7, and the corresponding ICER was Euro1,113 (US $1,407).The mean costs after 1 year of follow-up were Euro1,601 (US $2,021) in the trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole group and Euro1,164 (US $1,469) in the placebo group. Because the clinical effect of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole disappeared after its discontinuation, we did not calculate an ICER at 1 year of follow-up. CONCLUSION: In children with active COM, direct and indirect costs of a 6- to 12-week course of high-dose oral trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole are modest in the light of its short-term clinical benefit.

Page last updated: 2008-11-03

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