Cost-effectiveness of acupuncture versus standard care for pelvic and low back pain in pregnancy: A randomized controlled trial

Abstract : OBJECTIVE: To assess the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for pelvic girdle and low back pain (PGLBP) during pregnancy. DESIGN: Pragmatic-open-label randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Five maternity hospitals. POPULATION: Pregnant women with PGLBP. METHOD: 1:1 randomization to standard care or standard care plus acupuncture (5 sessions by an acupuncturist midwife). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Efficacy: proportion of days with self-assessed pain by numerical rating scale (NRS) ≤ 4/10. Cost effectiveness (societal viewpoint, time horizon: pregnancy): incremental cost per days with NRS ≤ 4/10. Indirect non-healthcare costs included daily compensations for sick leave and productivity loss caused by absenteeism or presenteeism. RESULTS: 96 women were allocated to acupuncture and 103 to standard care (total 199). The proportion of days with NRS ≤ 4/10 was greater in the acupuncture group than in the standard care group (61% vs 48%, p = 0.007). The mean Oswestry disability score was lower in the acupuncture group than with standard care alone (33 versus 38, Δ = 5, 95% CI: 0.8 to 9, p = 0.02). Average total costs were higher in the control group (€2947) than in the acupuncture group (€2635, Δ = -€312, 95% CI: -966 to +325), resulting from the higher indirect costs of absenteeism and presenteeism. Acupuncture was a dominant strategy when both healthcare and non-healthcare costs were included. Costs for the health system (employer and out-of-pocket costs excluded) were slightly higher for acupuncture (€1512 versus €1452, Δ = €60, 95% CI: -272 to +470). CONCLUSION: Acupuncture was a dominant strategy when accounting for employer costs. A 100% probability of cost-effectiveness was obtained for a willingness to pay of €100 per days with pain NRS ≤ 4.
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Stephanie Nicolian, Thibault Butel, Laetitia Gambotti, Manon Durand, Antoine Filipovic-Pierucci, et al.. Cost-effectiveness of acupuncture versus standard care for pelvic and low back pain in pregnancy: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2019, 14 (4), pp.e0214195. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0214195⟩. ⟨inserm-02199841⟩

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