A budget-impact and cost-effectiveness model for second-line treatment of major depression

Daniel C. Malone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Depressed patients who initially fall to achieve remission when placed on a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) may require a second treatment. Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness, cost, cost-effectiveness, and budget impact of second-line pharmacologic treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods: A cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted to evaluate second-line therapies (citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, paroxetine controlled release [CR], sertraline, and venlafaxine extended release [XR]) for the treatment of depression. Effectiveness data were obtained from published clinical studies. The primary outcome was remission defined as a score of 7 or less on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) or a score of 10 or less on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) depression rating scales. The wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) for medications and medical treatment costs for depression were included. The perspective was derived from a managed care organization (MCO) with 500,000 members, a 1.9% annual incidence of depression, and treatment duration of 6 months. Assumptions Included: second-line treatment is not as effective as first-line treatment, WAC price reflects MCO costs, and side effects were identical. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to determine variables that influenced the results. Results: Second-line remission rates were 20.4% for venlafaxine XR, 16.9% for sertraline, 16.4% for escitalopram, 15.1% for generic SSRIs (weighted average), and 13.6% for paroxetine CR. Pharmacy costs ranged from $163 for generic SSRIs to $319 for venlafaxine XR. Total cost per patient achieving remission was $14,275 for venlafaxine XR, followed by $16,100 for escitalopram. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for venlafaxine XR compared with generic SSRIs was $2,073 per patient achieving remission, followed by escitalopram with an ICER of $3,566. The model was most sensitive to nonpharmacy costs. Conclusion: This analysis suggests that second-line treatment of depression with venlafaxlne XR may result in more patients achieving remission, with an ICER that is favorable to other therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S8-S18
JournalJournal of Managed Care Pharmacy
Issue number6 SUPPL. A
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Antidepressants
  • Budget-impact model
  • Cost-effectiveness model
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Managed care
  • SNRI (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake Inhibitor)
  • SSRI
  • Venlafaxine extended release (XR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Health Policy


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