Assessing the cost-effectiveness of the rivastigmine transdermal patch for Alzheimer's disease in the UK using MMSE- and ADL-based models

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011 May;26(5):483-94. doi: 10.1002/gps.2551. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Objective: Assess long-term cost-effectiveness of rivastigmine patch in Alzheimer's disease (AD) management in the UK, using cognitive and functional models based on clinical trial efficacy data.

Methods: Incremental costs and Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) associated with rivastigmine patch and capsule treatment versus best supportive care (BSC) were calculated using two economic models, one based solely on Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores, and one also incorporating activities of daily living (ADL) scores. The clinical pathway was populated with data from a clinical trial of rivastigmine patch (9.5 mg/24 h) and capsules (12 mg/day) versus placebo. Costs were based on the UK health and social care costs and basic UK National Health Service (NHS) prices. Disease progression was modelled beyond the trial period over 5 years using published equations to predict natural decline in AD patients. Base case costing variables included drugs, clinical monitoring, and institutionalization.

Results: The MMSE model estimated incremental costs per QALY of £10 579 for rivastigmine patch and £15 154 for capsule versus BSC. The MMSE-ADL model estimated incremental costs per QALY of £9114 for rivastigmine patch and £13 758 for capsules. The main difference between the models was a greater number of institutionalized days avoided for rivastigmine versus BSC estimated by the MMSE-ADL model.

Conclusions: Both the MMSE and MMSE-ADL models suggest that rivastigmine patch and capsules are cost-effective treatments versus BSC. Incorporating ADL evidence makes a marginal but important difference to estimates in this case. Future economic evaluations of AD treatment should include measures of both cognition and functioning.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization / economics
  • Male
  • Models, Economic
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Neuroprotective Agents / economics*
  • Phenylcarbamates / administration & dosage
  • Phenylcarbamates / economics*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Regression Analysis
  • Rivastigmine
  • Social Support
  • Transdermal Patch / economics*
  • United Kingdom


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Phenylcarbamates
  • Rivastigmine