Comparative clinical- and cost-effectiveness of candesartan and losartan in the management of hypertension and heart failure: a systematic review, meta- and cost-utility analysis


  • Disclosures We declare no support from any organisation for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years and no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

Dr Anthony M. Grosso, Department of Pharmacy, University College London Hospital, London, NW1 2BU, UK
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The UK National Health Service (NHS) currently spends in excess of £250 million per annum on angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) for the treatment of hypertension and heart failure; with candesartan currently dominating the market. With the recent introduction of generic losartan, we set out to directly compare the branded market leader to its now cheaper alternative. The primary objectives were to compare the blood pressure (BP) lowering efficacy and cardiovascular outcomes of candesartan and losartan in the treatment of essential hypertension and chronic heart failure, respectively. The secondary objective was to model their comparative incremental cost-effectiveness in a UK NHS setting. The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Cochrane Library 2009, issue 2), which contains the Hypertension and Heart Group’s specialist register, Medline (1950–February 2010), and Embase (1980–February 2010) were included in the search strategy. Selection criteria were randomised studies of candesartan versus losartan in adults (> 18 years). The main outcome measures were as follows: Hypertension: mean change from baseline in trough (24 h postdose) systolic and diastolic BP. Heart failure: composite of cardiovascular death and hospital admission for management of heart failure. Two reviewers applied inclusion criteria, assessed trial quality, and extracted data. Eight (three of which met inclusion criteria) and zero trials compared candesartan directly with losartan in the treatment of hypertension and heart failure, respectively. A between-treatment difference of −1.96 mmHg [95% confidence interval (CI) −2.40 to −1.51] for trough diastolic BP and −3.00 mmHg (95% CI −3.79 to −2.22) for trough systolic BP in favour of candesartan was observed. Based on this differential, a 10-year Markov model estimates the cost per quality-adjusted life-year gained to exceed £40,000 for using candesartan in place of generic losartan. Candesartan reduces BP to a slightly greater extent when compared with losartan, however, such difference is unlikely to be cost-effective based on current acquisition costs, perceived NHS affordability thresholds and use of combination regimens. We could find no robust evidence supporting the superiority of candesartan over losartan in the treatment of heart failure. We therefore recommend using generic losartan as the ARB of choice which could save the UK NHS approximately £200 million per annum in drug costs.