Cost-effectiveness of newer anti-emetics in the prevention of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting: a pharmaco-economic study analysis

Akshay J. K., Basavanna P. L.


Background: Chemotherapy induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV) is one the most common adverse effects associated with chemotherapeutic management of carcinoma breast. Preventing CINV becomes a vital part in treatment of these cancer patients for better compliance. The conventional regimen of newer 5-HT3 receptor antagonist and dexamethasone along with newer agents - Aprepitant, a NK-1 receptor antagonist and a recently approved atypical antipsychotic, Olanzapine have shown better control of CINV. These newer agents are effective but also very expensive.

Methods: The study included carcinoma breast patients scheduled for chemotherapy (n = 55 in each group) who either received aprepitant or olanzapine or a combination of both as the anti-emetic regimen. Considering Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (CEA), the cost included was the cost of anti-emetic agents (sponsor’s perspective) and outcome measured as control of nausea and vomiting - as Complete Protection (CP), Complete Response to Best (CRB) and Incomplete Response (IR) for acute (0-24 hours) and delayed (24-120 hours) phases. The cost effectiveness(CE) ratio for emesis and CINV free days were calculated.

Results: CP was seen better during the acute period than the delayed period. With Aprepitant, delayed CRB and IR was seen with 13 (23.6%) and 10 (18.2%) subjects. 16 (29.1%) showed IR with Olanzapine during the delayed period.

The average number of Emesis and CINV free days were 4.65, 4.51, 4.89 and 3.38, 3.96, 4.15 for the three groups respectively. The cost required to achieve 1 emesis and 1 CINV free day per subject in the 3 groups was INR 351.19, INR 27.20, INR 339.54 and INR 483.36, INR 30.94, INR 400.60 respectively.

Conclusions: The newer anti-emetic even though being expensive at cost, pharmacoeconomically provide better outcomes and seem to have better control rates than the conventional regimen.


Anti-emetics, Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, Cost effective analysis, Pharmaco-economics

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