Comparative cost-effectiveness analysis of quinidine, procainamide and mexiletine

Philip J. Podrid, Peter R. Kowey, William H. Frishman, Renée J. Goldberg Arnold, Diana J. Kaniecki, J. Robert Beck, Joni R. Beshansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Quinidine and procainamide have the potential for major organ toxicity, whereas mexiletine has been reported to have little risk of organ toxicity, serious proarrhythmia or congestive heart failure, but a relatively high incidence of nuisance side effects. In light of the potential adverse effects of all antiarrhythmic agents as highlighted by the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial, the relative cost-effectiveness of these 3 agents was assessed. Based on a review of >1,000 published reports, studies included in the analysis examined ≥1 of these agents in adults, with adequate efficacy or safety data, or both. The majority of studies assessed patients with symptomatic or malignant arrhythmias, or both. Data were analyzed using a decision analysis/cost-effectiveness model. Probabilities were averaged using techniques of meta-analysis. Costs were obtained from a university medical center costaccounting system and from expected follow-up visits to university clinics. Thirty-seven separate side effects were included in the analysis. In terms of overall cost, 12 months of mexiletine would engender $875, quinidine $1,239 and procainamide $1,911 of expenses. Mexiletine dominates the older agents in terms of cost per successful drug response, a result that holds over a wide range of efficacy and safety data. Analyses demonstrated no increase in all-cause mortality for quinidine and mexiletine over placebo, but a trend toward higher mortality with procainamide. The results suggest that mexiletine is a cost-saving alternative therapy for ventricular arrhythmias when adverse reactions are considered in addition to pharmaceutical costs and treatment efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1662-1667
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number17
StatePublished - 15 Dec 1991
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative cost-effectiveness analysis of quinidine, procainamide and mexiletine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this