Cost-effectiveness analysis of alternative treatments of African gambiense trypanosomiasis in Uganda.Health Econ. 1995 Jul-Aug; 4(4):273-87.HE
African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, is a tropical disease caused by trypanosome parasites transmitted by tsetse flies. The focus of this paper is on the cost-effectiveness of alternative drug treatments for patients in the late stage of the disease. Melarsoprol has been used for many decades. More recently, eflornithine has been developed. It has fewer side effects and improves the overall cure rate. It is much more expensive than melarsoprol, however. The objective of the present cost-effectiveness is to identify the costs and benefits that would be involved in switching from melarsoprol to eflornithine in the treatment of late stage sleeping sickness. Benefits are expressed in lives saved as well as in disability adjusted life years (DALYs). The analysis is applied to the case of Uganda. The implications for affordability are also considered, by taking account of how the treatment costs would be shared between the national government, donors and patients. The baseline results indicate that melarsoprol treatment is associated with an incremental cost per life and DALY saved of $209 and $8, respectively. Each additional life saved by switching from melarsoprol alone to a combination of melarsoprol and eflornithine would cost an extra $1,033 per life saved, and an extra $40.9 per DALY gained. Shifting from this second alternative to treatment of all patients with eflornithine leads to an incremental cost per life saved of $4,444 and an incremental cost of $166.8 per DALY gained.