Economic Evaluation in Opioid Modeling: Systematic Review
26 Pages Posted: 27 May 2020
Date Written: April 27, 2020
Background: The opioid crisis is a complex problem associated with significant economic costs for healthcare systems and society. Simulation models have been developed to understand its complexity and to evaluate the potential costs of different strategies to address this problem.
Methods: A systematic review of simulation-based economic evaluation (SBEE) studies in opioid research was initiated by searches in PubMed, EMBASE, and EbscoHOST. Extraction of a pre-defined set of items and a quality assessment were performed for each study.
Results: The screening process resulted in 23 SBEE studies ranging by year of publication from 1999 to 2019. Methodological quality of the cost analyses was moderately high. The most frequently evaluated strategies were methadone and buprenorphine maintenance treatments; the only harm reduction strategy explored was naloxone distribution. These strategies were consistently found to be cost-effective, especially naloxone distribution and methadone maintenance. Prevention strategies were limited to abuse-deterrent opioid formulations. Most analyses (78%) assessed the cost-utility or cost-effectiveness of two or more interventions. Less than half (39%) adopted a societal perspective in their estimation of costs and effects from an opioid-related intervention. Consideration of patient and physician preference, changing costs, result stratification, or prevention was infrequent. High heterogeneity in study designs and outcomes precluded a meta-analysis.
Conclusions: The review shows consistently favorable cost analysis findings for naloxone distribution strategies and opioid antagonist treatments (methadone or buprenorphine maintenance treatments against no naloxone distribution and no treatment, respectively). The review observes gaps in accounting for patient and physician preferences or major changes in medication prices.
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