Cost-effectiveness of rate- and rhythm-control drugs for treating atrial fibrillation in Korea

Min Kim, Woojin Kim, Changsoo Kim, Boyoung Joung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Although the economic and mortality burden of atrial fibrillation (AF) is substantial, it remains unclear which treatment strategies for rate and rhythm control are most cost-effective. Consequently, economic factors can play an adjunctive role in guiding treatment selection. Materials and Methods: We built a Markov chain Monte Carlo model using the Korean Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service database. Drugs for rate control and rhythm control in AF were analyzed. Cost-effective therapies were selected using a cost-effectiveness ratio, calculated by net cost and quality-adjusted life years (QALY). Results: In the National Health Insurance Service data, 268149 patients with prevalent AF (age ≥18 years) were identified between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2015. Among them, 212459 and 55690 patients were taking drugs for rate and rhythm control, respectively. Atenolol cost $714/QALY. Among the rate-control medications, the cost of propranolol was lowest at $487/QALY, while that of carvedilol was highest at $1363/QALY. Among the rhythm-control medications, the cost of pilsicainide was lowest at $638/QALY, while that of amiodarone was highest at $986/QALY. Flecainide and propafenone cost $834 and $830/QALY, respectively. The cost-effectiveness threshold of all drugs was lower than $30000/QALY. Compared with atenolol, the rate-control drugs propranolol, betaxolol, bevantolol, bisoprolol, diltiazem, and verapamil, as well as the rhythm-control drugs sotalol, pilsicainide, flecainide, propafenone, and dronedarone, showed better incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. Conclusion: Propranolol and pilsicainide appear to be cost-effective in patients with AF in Korea assuming that drug usage or compliance is the same.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1157-1163
Number of pages7
JournalYonsei medical journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Yonsei University College of Medicine 2019.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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