Pharmacoeconomic Evaluation of Treatments for Refractory Schizophrenia: Clozapine-Related Studies

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Cost-effectiveness analyses determine whether a new therapy will find a place in clinical practice, based on the cost of its use and the health outcomes it produces, compared with other available therapies. Clozapine, indicated for treatment-resistant schizophrenia, has been evaluated in uncontrolled, mirror-image studies; clinical decision analysis models; and prospective, randomized clinical trials. Results from randomized trials demonstrate that clozapine controls symptoms of psychopathology and improves quality of life slightly more effectively than traditional neuroleptic medications. It has a lower incidence of extrapyramidal side effects than traditional medications, resulting in a lower dropout rate. Beginning in the second year of treatment, clozapine may produce cost savings for the health care system, when its higher acquisition cost begins to be offset by reduced hospitalization. Mirror-image studies and clinical decision analysis models provide further support for these findings.

J Clin Psychiatry 1999;60(suppl 1):7-11