Objectives: To assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of once-daily use of topical corticosteroids versus more frequent use of same-potency topical corticosteroids in the treatment of people with atopic eczema.
Data sources: Electronic databases. Bibliographies of included studies and related papers. Experts in the field. Manufacturer submissions to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.
Review methods: Studies were assessed for inclusion according to predefined criteria by two reviewers. Data extraction and quality assessment were undertaken by one reviewer and checked by a second reviewer. Clinical effectiveness data were synthesised through a narrative review with full tabulation of results.
Results: One RCT comparing moderately potent corticosteroids, eight RCTs comparing potent corticosteroids and one RCT comparing very potent corticosteroids were included. No RCTs or CCTs of mild corticosteroids were eligible. Most RCTs were of poor methodological quality, although two were judged to be of good quality. The only study that compared moderately potent corticosteroids found no significant difference between once- and twice-daily application. For potent corticosteroids, some statistically significant differences in numbers of patients responding to treatment were identified favouring twice-daily treatment, but these were inconsistent between physician and patient assessment and outcomes selected for analysis. Two studies found a significant improvement in some symptoms with once- daily mometasone furoate compared with twice-daily application of a different active compound, while a third study found no significant differences. One good-quality study favoured twice-daily application of fluticasone propionate ointment, while other studies found no significant difference or an improvement in one symptom but not others. The only study comparing very potent corticosteroids found a statistically significant difference in comparative clinical response in favour of three-times daily treatment, but no difference in number of patients with at least a good response. There appears to be little difference in the frequency or severity of short-term events, however data are limited. No published economic evaluations were identified. Given findings on clinical effectiveness, where outcomes from the comparators are similar, the relative cost-effectiveness of once-daily versus more frequent application of topical corticosteroids becomes a case of cost-minimisation, where the least-cost alternative should be favoured, all else being equal. Topical corticosteroid products included in this review have a wide variation in price; the cost per 30 g/30 ml varies between pound0.60 and pound4.88. Specific decisions on the least-cost alternative, between once-daily and more frequent application of products, will be determined by the relative price of the products being compared. Where patients can be appropriately prescribed once-daily treatment of a similarly priced product, a reduction in the quantity of topical corticosteroid used will be expected. However, issues related to pack size for prescribed products and subsequent waste (unused product) could easily erode any potential saving. The potential cost-savings on prescribed products are very small at a patient level; although given the large numbers of patients with atopic eczema, cost savings in theory could be substantial. The presence of specifically marketed 'once-daily' topical corticosteroids, which are relatively expensive ( per unit price), may result in additional costs should there be a general recommendation in favour of once-daily use of topical corticosteroids, compared to more frequent use.
Conclusions: The literature is very limited; that available indicates the clinical effectiveness of once-daily and more frequent application of potent topical corticosteroids is very similar, but it does not offer a basis for favouring either option. The cost-effectiveness of once-daily versus more frequent use will depend on the generalisability of the findings to the specific treatment decision and the relative product prices. The trials included in this review generally refer to moderate to severe atopic eczema, whereas most patients have mild disease, and furthermore most of the included trials report on potent topical corticosteroids (eight of 10 RCTs); therefore the generalisability of the findings is limited. Further research is required on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of once-daily versus more frequent use of same potency corticosteroids, specifically on mild potency products for mild to moderate atopic eczema. Outcomes should include quality of life and compliance.
|Number of pages||53|
|Journal||Health Technology Assessment|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|
- MOMETASONE FUROATE
- BETAMETHASONE VALERATE