Economic evaluation plays an important role during almost all stages of pharmaceutical design and use. This paper reviews the recent pharmacoeconomic literature on the use of anticoagulants for acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Both ACS and PCI are common reasons for hospitalization and contribute significantly to costs of care. ACS and PCI practice standards are still evolving. For ACS enoxaparin does appear to be more cost-effective around the globe than unfractionated heparin (UFH) when clopidrogel and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GP IIb/IIIa) inhibitors are not used. With the high prevalence of clopidrogel and GP IIb/IIIa use, the question may be moot. Since the cost of UFH therapy, including the cost of anticoagulant monitoring, is less expensive than enoxaparin therapy, UFH is probably the more cost-effective strategy. For PCI, as ischemic complications were reduced during the mid90s, bleeding complications have become the most common problem and a major cost driver. Other complications that can drive costs include the occurrence of MI and revascularization procedures (repeat PCI or CABG). Results suggest that bivalirudin plus a provisional GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor is the most cost-effective strategy for patients undergoing elective PCI. There is no clear evidence regarding its use in urgent PCI. ACS and PCI practice standards are still evolving. It would be useful to embed economic studies within new clinical trials. Full economic analysis of groups at high risk for bleeding while undergoing PCI is needed.
Keywords: Pharmacoeconomic, Cost-effective, ACS, PCI, Anticoagulant, Bivalirudin, UFH, LMWH
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