Cost-effectiveness of intermittent preventive treatment with dihydroartemisinin–piperaquine for malaria during pregnancy: an analysis using efficacy results from Uganda and Kenya, and pooled data

30 Oct 2020
Silke Fernandes, MSc Vincent Were, MSc Julie Gutman, MD Prof Grant Dorsey, PhD Abel Kakuru, MD Meghna Desai, PhD Simon Kariuki, PhD Prof Moses R Kamya, PhD Prof Feiko O ter Kuile, PhD Prof Kara Hanson, ScD

Background: Prevention of malaria infection during pregnancy in HIV-negative women currently relies on the use of long-lasting insecticidal nets together with intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP). Increasing sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance in Africa threatens current prevention of malaria during pregnancy. Thus, a replacement for IPTp-SP is urgently needed, especially for locations with high sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a promising candidate. We aimed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (IPTp-DP) versus IPTp-SP to prevent clinical malaria infection (and its sequelae) during pregnancy.

Methods: We did a cost-effectiveness analysis using meta-analysis and individual trial results from three clinical trials done in Kenya and Uganda. We calculated disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) arising from stillbirths, neonatal death, low birthweight, mild and moderate maternal anaemia, and clinical malaria infection, associated with malaria during pregnancy. Cost estimates were obtained from data collected in observational studies, health-facility costings, and from international drug procurement databases. The cost-effectiveness analyses were done from a health-care provider perspective using a decision tree model with a lifetime horizon. Deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses using appropriate parameter ranges and distributions were also done. Results are presented as the incremental cost per DALY averted and the likelihood that an intervention is cost-effective for different cost-effectiveness thresholds.

Findings: Compared with three doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, three doses of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, delivered to a hypothetical cohort of 1000 pregnant women, averted 892 DALYs (95% credibility interval 274 to 1517) at an incremental cost of US$7051 (2653 to 13 038) generating an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $8 (2 to 29) per DALY averted. Compared with monthly doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, monthly doses of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine averted 534 DALYS (-141 to 1233) at a cost of $13 427 (4994 to 22 895), resulting in an ICER of $25 (-151 to 224) per DALY averted. Both results were highly robust to most or all variations in the deterministic sensitivity analysis.

Interpretation: Our findings suggest that among HIV-negative pregnant women with high uptake of long-lasting insecticidal nets, IPTp-DP is cost-effective in areas with high malaria transmission and high sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance. These data provide a comprehensive overview of the current evidence on the cost-effectiveness of IPTp-DP. Nevertheless, before a policy change is advocated, we recommend further research into the effectiveness and costs of different regimens of IPTp-DP in settings with different underlying sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance.

Funding: Malaria in Pregnancy Consortium, which is funded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Liverpool School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.