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Cost-effectiveness of enoxaparin versus low-dose heparin for prophylaxis against venous thrombosis after major trauma.

We attempted to determine health and economic outcomes from the perspective of an integrated health system of administering enoxaparin 30 mg twice/day versus heparin 5000 U twice/day for prophylaxis against venous thrombosis after major trauma. A decision-analytic model was developed from best literature evidence, institutional data, and expert opinion. We assumed that 40% of proximal deep vein thromboses (DVTs) and 5% of distal DVTs are diagnosed and confirmed with initial or repeat duplex scanning; 50% of undiagnosed proximal DVTs result in pulmonary embolism; 2% and 1% of undiagnosed proximal DVTs will lead to readmission for DVT and pulmonary embolism, respectively, and pulmonary embolism-related mortality rates range from 8-30%. Length of hospital stay data and 1996 institutional drug use and acquisition cost data were used to estimate the cost of enoxaparin and heparin therapy. Diagnosis and treatment costs for DVT and pulmonary embolism were derived from institutional charge data using cost:charge ratios. A second analysis of patients with lower extremity fractures was completed. One-way and multiway sensitivity analyses were performed. For 1000 mixed trauma patients receiving enoxaparin versus heparin, our model showed that 62.2 (95% CI -113 to -12) DVTs or pulmonary emboli would be avoided, resulting in 67.6 (8 to 130) life-years saved at a net cost increase of $104,764 (-$329,300 to $159,600). Enoxaparin versus heparin resulted in a cost of $1684 (-$3600 to $9800) for each DVT or pulmonary embolus avoided and a discounted cost/life-year saved of $2303 (-$8100 to $19,000). For 1000 patients with lower extremity fractures, enoxaparin versus heparin resulted in a cost of $751 (-$4200 to $3300) for each DVT or pulmonary embolus avoided and a discounted cost/life-year saved of $1017 (-$10,200 to $6300). Although enoxaparin increases overall health care costs, it is associated with a cost/additional life-year saved of only $2300, which is generally lower than the commonly used hurdle rate of $30,000/life-year saved. The cost-effectiveness ratio is more favorable in patients with lower extremity fractures than in the general mixed trauma population.

Oral amiodarone: historical overview and development.

To review the historical development of amiodarone and the changing perceptions of the drug, and discuss its electrophysiologic, pharmacologic, and pharmacokinetic properties. Review of relevant literature. In the 1970s and 1980s a plethora of new antiarrhythmic agents, including amiodarone, was introduced. Amiodarone is predominately a class III antiarrhythmic, but also possesses class I, II, and IV effects. By 1977 it was described as the ideal antiarrhythmic agent. However, clinicians underestimated potential difficulties caused by misunderstanding its variable absorption, slow initial response at nonloading dosages, and extended half-life. Elevated dosages also produced frequent adverse effects. Thus, early enthusiasm for the drug's efficacy was gradually replaced by a focus on its toxicity. The 1990s witnessed reacceptance of the agent as more logical initial regimens and lower maintenance dosages decreased adverse effects, and amiodarone emerged as one of the few drugs effective in suppressing and preventing arrhythmias that does not increase mortality. Remaining challenges include delineation of an optimal oral regimen, identification of markers useful in clinical monitoring, and elucidation of the relationship between dose-tissue concentration and response and dose-toxicity associations. Amiodarone is an increasingly valuable component of today's antiarrhythmic therapy.