Clinical Drug Investigation

, Volume 21, Issue 7, pp 453–464 | Cite as

Economic Evaluation of Nimesulide versus Diclofenac in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis in France, Italy and Spain

  • Rosanna Tarricone
  • Elisa Martelli
  • Fabio Parazzini
  • Josep Darbà
  • Claude Le Pen
  • Joan Rovira
Clinical Pharmacoeconomics



To assess and compare the incremental costs of the 15-day treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) with nimesulide vs that with diclofenac in France, Italy and Spain.


A cost-minimisation analysis was performed through a decision tree, assuming the National Health System perspective. A meta-analysis was performed to assess the incidence of gastrointestinal adverse events (GIAEs) in patients with OA treated with nimesulide or diclofenac.


Three studies were included in the meta-analysis, which included a sample size of 484 patients in total. The incidence of GIAEs is higher in patients treated with diclofenac than in those treated with nimesulide. Nimesulide is cost-saving in all three countries: treatment costs are reduced by Euro dollars (EUR) 1.5 per case in France, EUR2 in Italy and EUR3.6 in Spain. Final results are not sensitive to variation of incidence rates of gastric and intestinal events and to changes in the resource consumption: nimesulide always remains cost-saving.


This is the first economic analysis carried out in three different countries on original epidemiological data comparing nimesulide and diclofenac directly. Projecting our results to the estimated OA prevalence in the entire population of the three countries, the expected savings to the NHS would vary from a minimum of EUR17 500 000 in France to a maximum of EUR30 000 000 in Spain. It can be stated that these findings can provide support for clinicians and policy-makers for the adoption of this cost-saving treatment strategy in patients with OA.


National Health Service Nimesulide Resource Consumption Direct Healthcare Cost Gastric Erosion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work would not have been possible without the contribution of the General Practitioners in France, Italy and Spain, whom we wish to thank.

This research was supported by a financial contribution from Helsinn Healthcare SA, Lugano, Switzerland.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosanna Tarricone
    • 1
  • Elisa Martelli
    • 1
  • Fabio Parazzini
    • 2
  • Josep Darbà
    • 3
  • Claude Le Pen
    • 4
  • Joan Rovira
    • 5
  1. 1.CeRGAS —Bocconi UniversityMilanItaly
  2. 2.University of MilanMilanItaly
  3. 3.Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.LEGOS, Université Paris-Dauphine et CLP-SantéParisFrance
  5. 5.SOIKOS y Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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