Cost-effectiveness of different combinations of bupropion SR dose and behavioral treatment for smoking cessation: a societal perspective

Am J Manag Care. 2004 Mar;10(3):217-26.


Objectives: To determine the differential cost effectiveness of 2 dosing regimens of bupropion sustained release (SR) in combination with behavioral interventions of minimal intensity (tailored mailings [TM]) or moderate intensity (proactive telephone calls [PTC]) for smoking cessation in an actual practice setting.

Study design: Open-label, randomized trial, with 1-year follow-up, conducted in a large health system based in Seattle, Washington.

Methods: A total of 1524 adult smokers interested in quitting smoking were randomly assigned to receive 150 mg bupropion SR daily and PTC (n = 382), 150 mg bupropion SR daily and TM (n = 381), 300 mg bupropion SR daily and PTC (n = 383), or 300 mg bupropion SR daily and TM (n = 378). Sufficient medication for 8 weeks of dosing was provided to patients. The primary outcome measure was self-reported point-prevalence 7-day nonsmoking status at 12 months after the target quit date.

Results: Although the 300-mg dose was associated with a higher 12-month nonsmoking rate relative to the 150-mg dose with both PTC and TM, the additional cost resulted in lower cost effectiveness. The PTC behavioral intervention was more expensive than TM, but the additional effectiveness resulted in almost equivalent cost effectiveness at the 150-mg dose. Costs per additional 12-month nonsmoker (above that expected for placebo) for the 150-mg dose groups averaged 950 dollars and per additional lifetime quitter averaged 1508 dollars; for the 300-mg groups these costs were 1342 dollars and 2129 dollars, respectively. Cost per life-year and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) saved varied substantially by age and treatment, but were no greater than 1100 dollars for all treatment groups when averaged across the age and sex distribution for the study population.

Conclusions: Although the cost per life-year and QALYs saved were sufficiently low for all doses to rate these smoking cessation interventions as among the most cost effective of life-saving medical treatments, within the regimens tested 150 mg bupropion combined with either PTC or TM was the most cost effective.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Bupropion / administration & dosage*
  • Bupropion / economics
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Washington


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Bupropion