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Decision models in the evaluation of psychotropic drugs : useful tool or useless toy?

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
The European journal of health economics : HEPAC : health economics in prevention and care
Publication Date
Volume
7
Issue
3
Pages
173–175
Identifiers
PMID: 16862446
Source
Medline

Abstract

A current contribution in the European Journal of Health Economics employs a decision model to compare health care costs of olanzapine and risperidone treatment for schizophrenia. The model suggests that a treatment strategy of first-line olanzapine is cost-saving over a 1-year period, with additional clinical benefits in the form of avoided relapses in the long-term. From a clinical perspective this finding is indubitably relevant, but can physicians and policy makers believe it? The study is presented in a balanced way, assumptions are based on data extracted from clinical trials published in major psychiatric journals, and the theoretical underpinnings of the model are reasonable. Despite these positive aspects, we believe that the methodology used in this study-the decision model approach-is an unsuitable and potentially misleading tool for evaluating psychotropic drugs. In this commentary, taking the olanzapine vs. risperidone model as an example, arguments are provided to support this statement.

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