Background Iron supplementation can be administered either intravenously or orally in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and iron deficiency anaemia, but practice varies widely. The aim of this study was to estimate the health care costs and benefits of parenteral iron compared with oral iron in haemodialysis patients receiving erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs).MethodsUsing broad health care funder perspective, a probabilistic Markov model was constructed to compare the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of parenteral iron therapy versus oral iron for the management of haemodialysis patients with relative iron deficiency. A series of one-way, multi-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess the robustness of the model structure and the extent in which the model's assumptions were sensitive to the uncertainties within the input variables.ResultsCompared with oral iron, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) for parenteral iron were $74 760 per life year saved and $34 660 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. A series of one-way sensitivity analyses show that the ICER is most sensitive to the probability of achieving haemoglobin (Hb) targets using supplemental iron with a consequential decrease in the standard ESA doses and the relative increased risk in all-cause mortality associated with low Hb levels (Hb < 9.0 g/dL). If the willingness-to-pay threshold was set at $50 000/QALY, the proportions of simulations that showed parenteral iron was cost-effective compared with oral iron were over 90%.ConclusionsAssuming that there is an overall increased mortality risk associated with very low Hb level (<9.0 g/dL), using parenteral iron to achieve an Hb target between 9.5 and 12 g/L is cost-effective compared with oral iron therapy among haemodialysis patients with relative iron deficiency.
- economic evaluation
- iron deficiency