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Strategies for the management of hypercholesterolaemia: a systematic review of the cost-effectiveness literature

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OBJECTIVE: To review research addressing the management of cholesterol in the prevention of coronary heart disease in order to assess the cost-effectiveness of such interventions. METHODS: A systematic review of economic evaluations identified through searches of MEDLINE and the Social Sciences Citation Index revealed 38 studies addressing the cost-effectiveness of cholesterol management. They were distinguished according to screening approaches, dietary advice and drug treatment. Most studies were not associated directly with clinical trial results, but adopted economic modelling approaches. RESULTS: Whilst there is general agreement among the majority of analyses, studies of cholesterol management concerned with screening strategies were extremely sensitive to changes in their assumptions; so much so that only a limited emphasis may be placed on specific cost-effectiveness ratios and the conclusions drawn from them. All studies considered direct costs, though many were limited to drug costs. The cost-effectiveness of primary prevention by cholesterol-lowering drugs is highly variable, depending on age at initiation of treatment and cardiovascular risk profile. Pharmacological intervention is least cost-effective in the young and the elderly. The cost-effectiveness of cholesterol-reducing agents improves when they are targeted at those at high risk. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors are generally more effective and more cost-effective at reducing cholesterol-related coronary events than other medications. CONCLUSION: The methods and economic data upon which these studies are based need to be improved if robust policy conclusions are to be formulated.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22755/

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