OBJECTIVE: To examine the cost-effectiveness of varenicline, a new pharmacotherapy to support smoking cessation, compared with the currently available pharmacologic alternatives in the Netherlands. METHODS: The BENESCO-model was used to estimate the long-term health and economic benefits of smoking cessation for a cohort of smokers making a one-time quit attempt. The cohort represented the population of Dutch smokers with respect to gender, age, and prevalence of the smoking-related diseases included in the model: COPD, lung cancer, CHD, stroke, and asthma exacerbations. The model compared the cumulative incidence of smoking-related diseases, (quality-adjusted) life years, intervention costs, and direct medical costs between the cohort treated with varenicline and the same cohort either untreated (unaided cessation) or treated with bupropion, nortriptyline or NRT. The time horizon was lifetime. Future costs were discounted at 4%, health outcomes at 1.5%. RESULTS: The cost of varenicline per additional quitter ranged from 1030 Euro compared with NRT to 4270 Euro compared with nortriptyline. When including the savings due to the reduction in incidence of smoking-related diseases, varenicline generated net savings compared with bupropion and NRT. Compared with nortriptyline and unaided cessation, varenicline was estimated to cost 1650 Euro/QALY and 320 Euro/QALY gained, respectively. At a willingness-to-pay as low as 5000/QALY gained, the probability that varenicline was cost-effective was more than 80% compared to bupropion, NRT, and unaided cessation and about 60% compared to nortriptyline. CONCLUSION: Treatment with varenicline for smoking cessation is cost-effective compared with nortriptyline and unaided cessation and even cost-saving compared with bupropion and NRT.

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doi.org/10.1185/030079908X242917, hdl.handle.net/1765/19454
Current Medical Research and Opinion
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Hoogendoorn, M., Rutten-van Mölken, M., & Welsing, P. (2008). Cost-effectiveness of varenicline compared with bupropion, NRT, and nortriptyline for smoking cessation in the Netherlands. Current Medical Research and Opinion, 24(1), 51–61. doi:10.1185/030079908X242917