Cost-Utility Analysis in Schizophrenia

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Estimation of quality of life is important to the study of the pharmacoeconomics of schizophrenia. The subject has gained popularity among policymakers, clinicians, and patients and their families, since the advent of new antipsychotic medications that are more expensive than older drugs yet have been shown to cause fewer side effects. Quantifying quality of life has been difficult, since studies often inconsistently define the concept or use rating scales that are inappropriate for the patient population. Utility analysis is a procedure that calculates subjects’ preferences regarding living with various health states, given such options as trading more years of life at a lowered health state for dying sooner but having a strong health state during the last years of life. The feasibility of performing utility analysis among patients with schizophrenia was recently examined in a study carried out by the authors. This article reflects initial observations from that study of utility analysis and includes a discussion of problems still facing the study of quality of life and utility analysis.

J Clin Psychiatry 1999;60(suppl 3):22-26