Cost-effectiveness of clopidogrel vs. ticagrelor in patients of 70 years or older with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome

Wout W A van den Broek, Jacqueline G van Paassen, Marieke E Gimbel, Vera H M Deneer, Jurriën M Ten Berg, Rick A Vreman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The POPular AGE trial showed that clopidogrel significantly reduced bleeding risk compared to ticagrelor without any signs of an increase in thrombotic events. The aim of this analysis was to estimate the long-term cost-effectiveness of clopidogrel compared to ticagrelor in these patients aged 70 years or older with NSTEMI.

METHODS AND RESULTS: A 1-year decision tree based on the POPular AGE trial in combination with a lifelong Markov model was developed to compare clopidogrel with ticagrelor in terms of clinical outcomes, costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) in elderly patients (above 70 year) with NSTEMI. Cost-effectiveness was assessed from a Dutch healthcare system perspective. Events rates and utility data observed in the POPular AGE trial were combined with lifetime projections to evaluate costs and effects for a fictional cohort of 1000 patients. Treatment with clopidogrel instead of ticagrelor led to a cost saving of €1484 575 (€1485 per patient) and a decrease of 10.96 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) (0.011 QALY per patient) in the fictional cohort. In an alternative base case with equal distribution over health states in the first year, treatment with clopidogrel led to an increase in QALYs. In all scenario analyses, treatment with clopidogrel was cost saving.

CONCLUSION: Clopidogrel is a cost-saving alternative to ticagrelor in elderly patients after NSTEMI, though regarding overall cost-effectiveness clopidogrel was not superior to ticagrelor, as it resulted in a small negative effect on QALYs. However, based on the results of the alternative base case and clinical outcomes of the POPular AGE trial, clopidogrel could be a reasonable alternative to ticagrelor for elderly NSTEMI patients with a higher bleeding risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76–84
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Heart Journal-Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Elderly
  • P2Y(12)-inhibitor


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