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01.12.2016 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Nephrology 1/2016

Incremental cost-utility of sevelamer relative to calcium carbonate for treatment of hyperphosphatemia among pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease patients

BMC Nephrology > Ausgabe 1/2016
Hai V. Nguyen, Saideep Bose, Eric Finkelstein
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12882-016-0256-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

HVN led model development and contributed to data analysis, drafting of initial manuscript and manuscript revisions; SB contributed to model development, data analysis, drafting of initial manuscript, and manuscript revisions; and EF contributed to the initial idea, manuscript writing and manuscript revisions. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Sevelamer is an alternative to calcium carbonate for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia among non-dialysis dependent patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Although some studies show that it may reduce mortality and delay the onset of dialysis when compared to calcium carbonate, it is also significantly more expensive. Prior studies looking at the incremental cost-effectiveness of sevelamer versus calcium carbonate in pre-dialysis patients are based on data from a single clinical trial. The goal of our study is to use a wider range of clinical data to achieve a more contemporary and robust cost-effectiveness analysis.


We used a Markov model to estimate the lifetime costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained for treatment with sevelamer versus calcium carbonate. The model simulated transitions among three health states (CKD not requiring dialysis, end-stage renal disease, and death). Data on transition probabilities and utilities were obtained from the published literature. Costs were calculated from a third party payer perspective and included medication, hospitalization, and dialysis. Sensitivity analyses were also run to encompass a wide range of assumptions about the dose, costs, and effectiveness of sevelamer.


Over a lifetime, the average cost per patient treated with sevelamer is S$180,724. The estimated cost for patients treated with calcium carbonate is S$152,988. A patient treated with sevelamer gains, on average, 6.34 QALYs relative to no treatment, whereas a patient taking calcium carbonate gains 5.81 QALYs. Therefore, sevelamer produces an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of S$51,756 per QALY gained relative to calcium carbonate.


Based on established benchmarks for cost-effectiveness, sevelamer is cost effective relative to calcium carbonate for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia among patients with chronic kidney disease initially not on dialysis.
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