Objective To compare the cost-effectiveness of alternate treatment strategies using second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) for patients with schizophrenia. Methods We developed a Markov model to estimate the costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) for different sequences of treatments for 40-year-old patients with schizophrenia. We considered first-line treatment with one of the four SGAs: olanzapine (OLZ), risperidone (RSP), quetiapine (QTP), and ziprasidone (ZSD). Patients could switch to another of these antipsychotics as second-line therapy, and only clozapine (CLZ) was allowed as third-line treatment. We derived parameter estimates from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trial of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) study and published sources. Results The ZSD-QTP strategy (first-line treatment with ZSD, change to QTP if ZSD is discontinued, and switch to CLZ if QTP is discontinued) was most costly while yielding the greatest QALYs, with an incremental cost-effective ratio (ICER) of $542,500 per QALY gained compared with the ZSD-RSP strategy. However, the ZSD-RSP strategy had an ICER of $5,200/QALY gained versus the RSP-ZSD strategy and had the greatest probability of being cost-effective given a willingness-to-pay threshold between $50,000 and $100,000 per QALY. All other treatment strategies were more costly and less effective than another strategy or combination of other strategies. Results varied by different time horizons adopted. Conclusions The ZSD-RSP strategy was most cost-effective at a willingness-to-pay threshold between $5,200 and $542,500 per QALY. Our results should be interpreted with caution because they are based largely on the CATIE trial with potentially limited generalizability to all patient populations and doses of SGAs used in practice.
- Markov model
- second-generation antipsychotics