Establish the impact of pain severity on the cost-effectiveness of generic duloxetine for knee osteoarthritis (OA) in the United States.
We used a validated computer simulation of knee OA to compare usual care (UC) – intra-articular injections, opioids, and total knee replacement (TKR) – to UC preceded by duloxetine in those no longer achieving pain relief from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Outcomes included quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), lifetime medical costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). We considered cohorts with mean ages 57-75 years and Western Ontario and McMaster Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain 25-55 (0-100, 100-worst). We derived inputs from published data. We discounted costs and benefits 3% annually. We conducted sensitivity analyses of duloxetine efficacy, duration of pain relief, toxicity, and costs.
Among younger subjects with severe pain (WOMAC pain=55), duloxetine led to an additional 9.6 QALYs per 1000 subjects (ICER=$88,500/QALY). The likelihood of duloxetine being cost-effective at willingness-to-pay (WTP) thresholds of $50,000/QALY and $100,000/QALY was 40% and 54%. Offering duloxetine to older patients with severe pain led to ICERs >$150,000/QALY. Offering duloxetine to subjects with moderate pain (pain=25) led to ICERs <$50,000/QALY, regardless of age. Among knee OA subjects with severe pain (pain=55) who are unwilling or unable to undergo TKR, ICERs were <$50,600/QALY, regardless of age.
Duloxetine is a cost-effective addition to knee OA UC for subjects with moderate pain or those with severe pain unable or unwilling to undergo TKR. Among younger subjects with severe pain, duloxetine is cost-effective at WTP thresholds >$88,500/QALY.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.