Aims: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) 1 & 2 supplements in patients with either bilateral intermediate age-related macular degeneration, AREDS category 3, or unilateral neovascular age-related macular degeneration AMD (nAMD), AREDS category 4.
Methods: A patient-level health state transition model based on levels of visual acuity in the better-seeing eye was constructed to simulate the costs and consequences of patients taking AREDS vitamin supplements.
Setting: UK National Health Service (NHS). The model was populated with data from AREDS and real-world outcomes and resource use from a prospective multicentre national nAMD database study containing 92 976 ranibizumab treatment episodes.
Interventions: Two treatment approaches were compared: immediate intervention with AREDS supplements or no supplements.
Main outcome measures: quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and healthcare costs were accrued for each strategy, and incremental costs and QALYs were calculated for the lifetime of the patient. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were employed to test the uncertainty of the model.
Results: For AREDS category 3, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was £30 197. For AREDS category 4 compared with no intervention, AREDS supplements are more effective (10.59 vs 10.43 QALYs) and less costly (£52 074 vs 54 900) over the lifetime of the patient.
Conclusions: The recommendation to publicly fund AREDS supplements to category 3 patients would depend on the healthcare system willingness to pay. In contrast, initiating AREDS supplements in AREDS category 4 patients is both cost saving and more effective than no supplement use and should therefore be considered in public health policy.
Keywords: age-related macular degeneration; cost-effectiveness; health economics; supplements.
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