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Eva Ørnbøl

Long-term economic evaluation of cognitive-behavioural group treatment versus enhanced usual care for functional somatic syndromes

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OBJECTIVE: Patients with functional somatic syndromes (FSS) such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome have a poor outcome and can incur high healthcare and societal costs. We aimed to compare the medium-term (16months) cost-effectiveness and the long-term (40months) economic outcomes of a bespoke cognitive-behavioural group treatment (STreSS) with that of enhanced usual care (EUC).

METHODS: We obtained complete data on healthcare and indirect costs (i.e. labour marked-related and health-related benefits) from public registries for 120 participants from a randomised controlled trial. Costs were calculated as per capita public expenses in 2010 €. QALYs gained were estimated from the SF-6D. We conducted a medium-term cost-effectiveness analysis and a long-term cost-minimization analysis from both a healthcare (i.e. direct cost) and a societal (i.e. total cost) perspective.

RESULTS: In the medium term, the probability that STreSS was cost-effective at thresholds of 25,000 to 35,000 € per QALY was 93-95% from a healthcare perspective, but only 50-55% from a societal perspective. In the long term, however, STreSS was associated with increasing savings in indirect costs, mainly due to a greater number of patients self-supporting. When combined with stable long-term reductions in healthcare expenditures, there were total cost savings of 7184 € (95% CI 2271 to 12,096, p=0.004) during the third year after treatment.

CONCLUSION: STreSS treatment costs an average of 1545 €. This cost was more than offset by subsequent savings in direct and indirect costs. Implementation could both improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

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