Background: Previously, patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) with uncontrolled hyperparathyroidism had few options other than parathyroidectomy, which was reserved for patients refractory to medical therapy. Newer calcimimetic agents, such as cinacalcet, may be an alternative, but raise the possibility of indefinite medical treatment that also would increase costs.
Study design: Cost utility analysis.
Setting & population: Base case consisted of prevalent adult US patients with ESRD refractory to management with standard medical therapy. Characteristics were obtained from patients who underwent parathyroidectomy in 2001, and, for purposes of comparison, patients in whom cinacalcet was used were assigned similar characteristics. All data came from preexisting literature and trials or from US Renal Data System analysis files.
Intervention: Use of cinacalcet hydrochloride versus parathyroidectomy.
Perspective & time frame: Medicare and societal costs and quality-adjusted life-years from the date of parathyroidectomy or use of cinacalcet followed up for 2 years, respectively.
Model & outcomes: Primary outcomes were cost (measured in US dollars) and cost utility measured using cost per quality-adjusted life-years.
Results: At base-case surgical and drug costs, surgical and drug success rates, complication rates/costs, and benefit from correction of hyperparathyroidism, parathyroidectomy was found to be both less expensive and more cost-effective at 7.25 +/- 0.25 months. Parathyroidectomy became more cost-effective at 15.28 to 16.32 months at the upper limit of sensitivity analysis, when drug/surgical costs and success/complication rates/costs were maximally weighted to favor cinacalcet-based medical therapy.
Limitations: We assumed current costs of both cinacalcet and parathyroidectomy and assumed cinacalcet use would be indefinite.
Conclusions: For patients with ESRD with uncontrolled hyperparathyroidism who are good candidates for either drug therapy or surgery, cinacalcet hydrochloride is the most cost-effective modality if the patient is to remain on dialysis therapy for 7.25 +/- 0.25 months. Cinacalcet may be more optimal if used in patients who have high risk of mortality or who would expect to receive a kidney transplant quickly. For other subgroups, parathyroidectomy dominated.