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Early intervention in psychosis: health economic evaluation using the net benefit approach in a real-world setting

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Caragh Behan, Brendan Kennelly, Eric Roche, Laoise Renwick, Sarah Masterson, John Lyne, Brian O'Donoghue, John Waddington, Catherine McDonough, Paul McCrone, Mary Clarke

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-490
Number of pages7
JournalThe British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science
Issue number3
Published1 Sep 2020

King's Authors


BACKGROUND: Early intervention in psychosis is a complex intervention, usually delivered in a specialist stand-alone setting, which aims to improve outcomes for people with psychosis. Previous studies have been criticised because the control used did not accurately reflect actual practice. AIMS: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of early intervention by estimating the incremental net benefit (INB) of an early-intervention programme, delivered in a real-world setting. INB measures the difference in monetary terms between alternative interventions. METHOD: Two contemporaneous incidence-based cohorts presenting with first-episode psychosis, aged 18-65 years, were compared. Costs and outcomes were measured over 1 year. The main outcome was avoidance of a relapse that required admission to hospital or home-based treatment. RESULTS: From the health sector perspective, the probability that early intervention was cost-effective was 0.77. The INB was €2465 per person (95% CI - €4418 to €9347) when society placed a value of €6000, the cost of an in-patient relapse, on preventing a relapse requiring admission or home care. Following adjustment, the probability that early intervention was cost-effective was 1, and the INB to the health sector was €3105 per person (95% CI -€8453 to €14 663). From a societal perspective, the adjusted probability that early intervention was cost-effective was 1, and the INB was €19 928 per person (95% CI - €2075 to €41 931). CONCLUSIONS: Early intervention has a modest INB from the health sector perspective and a large INB from the societal perspective. The perspective chosen is critical when presenting results of an economic evaluation of a complex intervention.

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