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HomeClinical MedicineEconomic evaluation of FMT versus antibiotics for recurrent C-diff infection

Economic evaluation of FMT versus antibiotics for recurrent C-diff infection

Faecal microbial transplantation (FMT) as a treatment for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is more effective and more cost-efficient treatment than using antibiotics, a study by researchers at University of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University Hospitals Birmingham, NHS Foundation Trust, found.

CDI is an infection of the bowel, which commonly affects people who have recently been treated in hospital, those with underlying conditions and patients over 65. Almost 30% of patients treated for the condition experience at least one recurrence. A recurrence of the condition, has been associated with a higher risk of mortality and is usually treated using antibiotics.

Faecal microbial transplantation (FMT), a treatment pioneered as a licensed medicine by Professor Peter Hawkey and his team at the University of Birmingham, is a method where gut bacteria and other components in faeces are used to treat CDI. The bacteria is taken from a screened healthy donor, processed and screened before being transplanted via a tube passed through the nose into the stomach. Treatment with FMT is associated with higher cure and lower recurrence rates than fidaxomicin or vancomycin- the two most common antibiotics used to treat recurrent CDI (rCDI).

The study, which presents the first decision model for patients with rCDI already hospitalised in the UK, analysed randomised controlled trials, observational studies and expert opinion from the UK, on patients with single or multiple rCDI. Researchers analysed the cost of each of the four treatment options for rCDI for treatment effects, unit costs, resource and health related quality of life to identify which treatment was the most cost-effective and offered the best outcome for patients.

The study showed that both methods for administering FMT were lower in cost compared to standard treatment with antibiotics. FMT via naso-gastric tube was the least costly, with a mean cost of £8,877 per patient, while FMT via colonoscopy was £11,716 per patient. FMT via colonoscopy was also shown to be slightly more effective than treatment via naso-gastric tube, offering patients a higher quality of life. Two other standard antibiotic treatments vancomycin and fidaxomicin were compared in the model but both these treatments were shown to be more costly and less effective than either of the FMT interventions. Moreover, Vancomycin was the most expensive and the least effective treatment.

Hawkey, formerly of the University of Birmingham said: “We at the University of Birmingham pioneered this treatment as the UK’s first third party FMT service. FMT is not currently a widespread treatment for this disease but by showing that it not only saves lives, but is also significantly more cost effective, we hope that this could be one of the first steps towards the treatment being accepted more widely.”

Professor Tracy Roberts, head of the University of Birmingham’s Health Economics Unit said “As well as being more effective both in terms of cost and benefit to patients, FMT was shown to significantly reduce the amount of days patients were required to be hospitalised which could also provide longer term cost-savings”

Background: Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is a hospital acquired disease associated with significant morbidity, hospitalisation and mortality. Almost 30% of treated patients experience at least one recurrence after treatment of their first episode. Treatment of recurrent CDI (rCDI) utilises vancomycin or fidaxomicin, however, a newer treatment option is faecal microbial transplantation (FMT) administered by nasogastric tube (NGT) or colonoscopy. It is associated with higher cure and lower recurrence rates than fidaxomicin or vancomycin. The aim of this analysis is to evaluate the cost effectiveness of FMT for rCDI using the latest and best evidence.
Method: A cost utility analysis was conducted using a decision model representing the cost per additional Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) from a National Health Service (NHS) perspective. A Markov model was constructed to compare FMT NGT and colonoscopy to antibiotic treatment (fidaxomicin or vancomycin). The model was informed by a literature review of clinical evidence, specifically focussing on hospitalised patients with rCDI over 65 years. Both deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to assess uncertainties around the model inputs and assumptions.
Findings: The base case analysis showed that FMT is a less costly and more effective treatment than either fidaxomicin or vancomycin. FMT colonoscopy was slightly more effective than FMT NGT leading to an additional 0.012 QALYs but more expensive and the incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) was £242,514/ QALY. The Probabilistic sensitivity analysis based on 10,000 simulations suggested the probability of FMT NGT being cost effective was almost 78% at £20,000/QALY Willingnes-To-Pay (WTP) threshold.
Interpretation: FMT is both more effective and less costly option than antimicrobial therapy. FMT NGT was the preferred route of administration and is likely to be considered the most cost-effective strategy by decision makers given current acceptable thresholds

Zainab I Abdalia, Tracy E Robertsa, Pelham Bartona, Peter M Hawkey


[link url=""]University of Birmingham material[/link]


[link url=""]EClinicalMedicine abstract[/link]

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