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Cost-Effectiveness of Home Visits in the Outpatient Treatment of Patients with Alcohol Dependence

The purpose of this study was to compare the cost-effectiveness of conventional outpatient treatment for alcoholic patients (CT) with this same conventional treatment plus home visits (HV), a new proposal for intervention within the Brazilian outpatient treatment system.

A cost-effectiveness evaluation alongside a 12-week randomized clinical trial was performed. We identified the resources utilized by each intervention, as well as the cost according to National Health System (SUS), Brazilian Medical Association (AMB) tables of fees, and others based on 2005 data. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was estimated as the main outcome measure – abstinent cases at the end of treatment.

  • There were 51.8% abstinent cases for HV and 43.1% for CT, a clinically relevant finding.
  • Other outcome measures, such as quality of life, also showed significant improvements that favored HV.

The baseline scenario presented an ICER of USD 1,852. Sensitivity analysis showed an ICER of USD 689 (scenario favoring HV) and USD 2,334 (scenario favoring CT).

The HV treatment was found to be cost-effective according to the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health.

Research; Edilaine Moraesa, Geraldo M. Camposa, Neliana B. Figliea, Ronaldo Laranjeiraa, Marcos B. Ferrazb. Eur Addict Res 2010;16:69-77 (DOI: 10.1159/000268107)