Eur Respir J. 2020 Oct 2:2002436. doi: 10.1183/13993003.02436-2020. Online ahead of print.
Add-on azithromycin (AZM) results in a significant reduction in exacerbations among adults with persistent uncontrolled asthma. The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of add-on AZM in terms of healthcare and societal costs.The AMAZES trial randomly assigned 420 participants to AZM or placebo. Healthcare use and asthma exacerbations were measured during the treatment period. Healthcare use included all prescribed medicine and healthcare contacts. Costs of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) were estimated based on overall consumption and published estimates of costs. The value of an avoided exacerbation was based on published references. Differences in cost between the two groups were related to differences in exacerbations in a series of net monetary benefit estimates. Societal costs included lost productivity, over the counter medicines, steroid induced morbidity and AMR costs.Add-on AZM resulted in a reduction in healthcare costs (mean (95% CI)) including nights in hospital (AUD$433.70 ($48.59-$818.81) or €260.22(€29.15-€491.29)), unplanned healthcare visits (AUD$20.25 ($5.23-$35.27) or €12.15 (€3.14-€21.16)), antibiotic costs (AUD$14.88 ($7.55-$22.21) or €8.93(€4.53-€13.33)) and oral corticosteroid costs (AUD$4.73 ($0.82-$8.64) or €2.84(€0.49-€5.18)), all p<0.05. Overall healthcare and societal costs were lower (AUD$77.30 (€46.38) and AUD$256.22 (€153.73) respectively) albeit not statistically significant. The net monetary benefit of add-on AZM was estimated to be AUD$2072.30 (95% CI $1348.55-$2805.23) or (€1243.38 (€809.13-€1683.14) assuming a willingness to pay per exacerbation avoided of AUD$2651 (€1590.60). Irrespective of the sensitivity analysis applied, the net monetary benefit for total, moderate and severe exacerbations remained positive and significant.Add-on AZM therapy in poorly controlled asthma was a cost-effective therapy. Costs associated with AMR did not influence estimated cost-effectiveness.