Context: Because menorrhagia is often a reason for seeking medical attention, it is important to consider outcomes and costs associated with alternative treatment modalities. Both the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) and hysterectomy have proven effective for treatment of menorrhagia but there are no long-term comparative studies measuring cost and quality of life.
Objective: To compare outcomes, quality-of-life issues, and costs of the LNG-IUS vs hysterectomy in the treatment of menorrhagia.
Design, setting, and participants: Randomized controlled trial conducted between October 1, 1994, and October 6, 2002, and enrolling 236 women (mean [SD] age, 43 [3.4] years) referred to 5 university hospitals in Finland for complaints of menorrhagia.
Interventions: Participants were randomly assigned to treatment with the LNG-IUS (n = 119) or hysterectomy (n = 117) and were monitored for 5 years.
Main outcome measures: Health-related quality of life (HRQL) as measured by the 5-Dimensional EuroQol and the RAND 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey, other measures of psychosocial well-being (anxiety, depression, and sexual function), and costs.
Results: After 5 years of follow-up, 232 women (99%) were analyzed for the primary outcomes. The 2 groups did not differ substantially in terms of HRQL or psychosocial well-being. Although 50 (42%) of the women assigned to the LNG-IUS group eventually underwent hysterectomy, the discounted direct and indirect costs in the LNG-IUS group (2817 dollars [95% confidence interval, 2222 dollars-3530 dollars] per participant) remained substantially lower than in the hysterectomy group (4660 dollars [95% confidence interval, 4014 dollars-5180 dollars]). Satisfaction with treatment was similar in both groups.
Conclusions: By providing improvement in HRQL at relatively low cost, the LNG-IUS may offer a wider availability of choices for the patient and may decrease costs due to interventions involving surgery.