Hypertension is prevalent in over 25% of populations in developed countries, and poses an increasing economic burden on health resources. Therefore it is predicted that future medical treatment of hypertension will be increasingly affected by cost considerations. Several classes of antihypertensive drugs are used as first-line agents for the treatment of hypertension, but the economic impact of using these agents in different countries remains to be addressed. In this study, we compared health costs associated with treatment of hypertension using the calcium channel blocker amlodipine and the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril in the US and Japan. Pharmaceutical costs and hospitalization costs were analyzed from established databases. The data for the prevalence of myocardial infarction and stroke were derived from the Framingham study and the Hisayama study. Analysis of the economic impacts using relative risk differences between the calcium channel blocker and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor together with regional hospitalization costs resulted in an apparent 11.2 billion yen health cost reduction in favor of the calcium channel blocker in the case of Japan, in contrast to an apparent 5.7 billion yen reduction in favor of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor in the case of the US. The trends in Japan for 2000 and 2004 were similar. These results suggest that there are regional differences in the health costs associated with different classes of hypertensive agents, which could affect national policies on the choice of antihypertensive drugs. It is predicted that future treatment of hypertension will be increasingly tailored to the epidemiologic profiles and medical costs of individual communities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine