Background The 2012 European guidelines recommend statins for intermediate-risk individuals with elevated cholesterol levels. Improved discrimination of intermediate-risk individuals is needed to prevent both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and statin side-effects (e.g. myopathy) efficiently since only 3-15 in every 100 individuals actually experience a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years. We estimated the potential cost-effectiveness of a hypothetical test which helps to determine which individuals will benefit from statins.Methods and results Prognosis of different age- and gender-specific cohorts with an intermediate risk was simulated with a Markov model to estimate the potential costs and quality-adjusted life-years for four strategies: treat all with statins, treat none with statins, treat according to the European guidelines, or use a test to select individuals for statin treatment. The test-first strategy dominated the other strategies if the hypothetical test was 100% accurate and cost no more than €237. This strategy and the treat-all strategy were equally effective but the test generated lower costs by reducing statin usage and side-effects. The treat-none strategy was the least effective strategy. Threshold analyses show that the test must be highly accurate (especially sensitive) and inexpensive to be the most cost-effective strategy, since myopathy has a negligible impact on cost-effectiveness and statin costs are low. Conclusion Use of a highly accurate prognostic test could reduce overall CVD risk, frequency of drug side-effects and lifetime costs. However, no additional test would add usefully to risk prediction over SCORE when it does not satisfy the costs and accuracy requirements.

Additional Metadata
Keywords cardiovascular disease, cost-effectiveness, decision modelling, prevention, statins, test
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.08.134, hdl.handle.net/1765/90853
Journal International Journal of Cardiology
Citation
Burgers, L.T, Nauta, S.T, Deckers, J.W, Severens, J.L, & Redekop, W.K. (2014). Is it cost-effective to use a test to decide which individuals with an intermediate cardiovascular disease risk would benefit from statin treatment?. International Journal of Cardiology, 176(3), 980–987. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.08.134