Background and Aims
To assess cost-effectiveness of fecal lactoferrin (FL) as the initial diagnostic approach to symptomatic patients with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA).
Four competing strategies [empiric metronidazole therapy (txMTZ), initial pouch endoscopy with biopsy (testBiop), initial FL assay followed by metronidazole therapy (testFL+MTZ), and initial FL assay followed by pouch endoscopy and biopsy (testFL+Biop)] were modeled in a decision tree.
In the base-case, the average cost per patient was $241 for testFL+MTZ, $251 for txMTZ, $405 for testFL+Biop, and $431 for testBiop. The testBiop strategy had greater effectiveness compared with txMTZ but at an incremental cost of $158 per day. The txMTZ strategy was slightly more costly and minimally more effective than testFL+MTZ with an incremental cost effectiveness of just over $12 per day. However, the testFL+MTZ strategy was associated with a 31% absolute reduction in antibiotic exposure compared with the txMTZ strategy.
Compared with empiric metronidazole therapy, FL before treatment with metronidazole is less costly with less exposure to antibiotics and less need for endoscopy, with only marginal decrease in effectiveness.