Economic Evaluations of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Medical Management
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) contributes to substantial medication use and costs worldwide. Economic evaluations provide insight into the value of healthcare, taking into account cost, quality, and benefits of particular treatments.
Our objectives were to systematically review the existing literature to identify economic evaluations of GERD management strategies, to assess the scientific quality of these reports, and to summarize the economic outcomes of these evaluations.
We identified economic evaluations and cost studies of GERD management strategies by searching PubMed and the UK NHS Economic Evaluation Database via the Cochrane Library. Searching was restricted to articles in English-language journals from July 2003 to July 2013. Cost-identification articles were excluded from the final analysis.
Eighteen articles were included in the final analysis; 61 % of these met all criteria for quality reporting. Overall, proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy was preferred (most effective and least costly) as empiric therapy for patients with reflux symptoms, except in patient populations with high Helicobacter pylori prevalence (>40 %). Initial empiric PPI therapy (vs. initial endoscopy stratification or H. pylori testing) is likely the most cost-effective initial strategy for patients with typical GERD symptoms. Surgery may be cost effective in patients with chronic GERD symptoms at time horizons of 3–10 years. Endoscopic anti-reflux procedures were not cost effective based on available data.
Further economic evaluations should adhere to standard reporting measures of cost estimates and outcomes, and should attempt to account for and compare the large heterogeneity of patient phenotypes and treatment effects seen with anti-reflux therapies.