Carvedilol reduces the costs of medical care in severe heart failure: an economic analysis of the COPERNICUS study applied to the United Kingdom

Int J Cardiol. 2005 Apr 8;100(1):143-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2004.12.003.


Background: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of carvedilol on the costs related to the treatment of severe chronic heart failure (CHF).

Methods: Costs for the treatment for heart failure within the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom (UK) were applied to resource utilisation data prospectively collected in all patients randomized into the Carvedilol Prospective Randomized Cumulative Survival (COPERNICUS) Study. Unit-specific, per diem (hospital bed day) costs were used to calculate expenditures due to hospitalizations. We also included costs of carvedilol treatment, general practitioner surgery/office visits, hospital out-patient clinic visits and nursing home care based on estimates derived from validated patterns of clinical practice in the UK.

Results: The estimated cost of carvedilol therapy and related ambulatory care for the 1156 patients assigned to active treatment was pound530,771 ( pound44.89 per patient/month of follow-up). However, patients assigned to carvedilol were hospitalised less often and accumulated fewer and less expensive days of admission. Consequently, the total estimated cost of hospital care was pound3.49 million in the carvedilol group compared with pound4.24 million for the 1133 patients in the placebo arm. The cost of post-discharge care was also less in the carvedilol than in the placebo group ( pound479,200 vs. pound548,300). Overall, the cost per patient treated in the carvedilol group was pound3948 compared to pound4279 in the placebo group. This equated to a cost of pound385.98 vs. pound434.18, respectively, per patient/month of follow-up: an 11.1% reduction in health care costs in favour of carvedilol.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that not only can carvedilol treatment increase survival and reduce hospital admissions in patients with severe CHF but that it can also cut costs in the process.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / economics
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Carbazoles / economics*
  • Carbazoles / therapeutic use
  • Carvedilol
  • Cost Savings
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Resources / economics
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / economics*
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propanolamines / economics*
  • Propanolamines / therapeutic use
  • United Kingdom


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Carbazoles
  • Propanolamines
  • Carvedilol