Aims: Patients with atrial fibrillation have a significantly increased risk of thromboembolic events such as ischaemic stroke, and patients are therefore recommended to be treated with anticoagulation treatment. The most commonly used anticoagulant consists of vitamin K antagonist such as warfarin. A new oral anticoagulation treatment, dabigatran, has recently been approved for stroke prevention among patients with atrial fibrillation. The purpose of this study was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of dabigatran as preventive treatment of stroke and thromboembolic events compared with warfarin in 65-year-old patients with atrial fibrillation in Sweden.
Methods and results: A decision analytic simulation model was used to estimate the long-term (20-year) costs and effects of the different treatments. The outcome measures are the number of strokes prevented, life years gained, and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained. Costs and effect data are adjusted to a Swedish setting. Patients below 80 years of age are assumed to start with dabigatran 150 mg twice a day and switch to 110 mg twice a day at the age of 80 years due to higher bleeding risk. The price of dabigatran in Sweden is €2.82 (Swedish kronor 25.39) per day for both doses. The cost per QALY gained for dabigatran compared with warfarin is estimated at €7742, increasing to €12 449 if dabigatran is compared with only well-controlled warfarin treatment.
Conclusion: Dabigatran is a cost-effective treatment in Sweden, as its incremental cost-effectiveness ratio is below the normally accepted willingness to pay limit.