Florida Research Institute, Florida Digestive Health Specialists, Lakewood Ranch, FL, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quantym Therapeutic Data, Sarasota, FL, USA.
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE), a common neurologic complication in cirrhosis, is associated with substantial disease and economic burden. Rifaximin is a non-systemic antibiotic that reduces the risk of overt HE recurrence and overt HE-related hospitalizations.
Our objective was to provide an overview of the direct HE-related costs and cost benefits of rifaximin, lactulose, and rifaximin plus lactulose.
A systematic review of PubMed and relevant meeting abstracts was conducted to identify publications since 1 January 2007 reporting economic data related to HE and rifaximin and/or lactulose. Further, a public database and published literature were used to estimate current costs of hospitalization for overt HE, and potential cost savings of HE-related hospitalizations with rifaximin. The methodological quality of included studies was evaluated using the Drummond checklist.
A total of 16 reports were identified for inclusion in the systematic review. Globally, HE-related direct costs ranged from $US5370 to $US50,120 annually per patient. Rifaximin was associated with shorter hospital stays and reduced healthcare costs. Rifaximin also has the potential to reduce overt HE-related hospitalization risk by 50% compared with lactulose. Rifaximin was shown to have a favourable pharmacoeconomic profile compared with lactulose (based on the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio).
In addition to its clinical benefits (e.g. reduction in the risk of recurrence of overt HE, overt HE-related hospitalizations, favourable adverse event profile), economic data are favourable for the use of rifaximin in patients with a history of overt HE.