Cost effectiveness analysis of larval therapy for leg ulcers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess the cost effectiveness of larval therapy compared with hydrogel in the management of leg ulcers. Design: Cost effectiveness and cost utility analyses carried out alongside a pragmatic multicentre, randomised, open trial with equal randomisation. Population: Intention to treat population comprising 267 patients with a venous or mixed venous and arterial ulcers with at least 25% coverage of slough or necrotic tissue. Interventions: Patients were randomly allocated to debridement with bagged larvae, loose larvae, or hydrogel. Main outcome measure: The time horizon was 12 months and costs were estimated from the UK National Health Service perspective. Cost effectiveness outcomes are expressed in terms of incremental costs per ulcer-free day (cost effectiveness analysis) and incremental costs per quality adjusted life years (cost utility analysis). Results: The larvae arms were pooled for the main analysis. Treatment with larval therapy cost, on average, 96.70 pound ((sic)109.61; $140.57) more per participant per year (95% confidence interval -491.9 pound to 685.8) pound than treatment with hydrogel. Participants treated with larval therapy healed, on average, 2.42 days before those in the hydrogel arm (95% confidence interval -0.95 to 31. 91 days) and had a slightly better health related quality of life, as the annual difference in QALYs was 0.011 (95% confidence interval -0.067 to 0.071). However, none of these differences was statistically significant. The incremental cost effectiveness ratio for the base case analysis was estimated at 8826 pound per QALY gained and 40 pound per ulcer-free day. Considerable uncertainty surrounds the outcome estimates. Conclusions: Debridement of sloughy or necrotic leg ulcers with larval therapy is likely to produce similar health benefits and have similar costs to treatment with hydrogel. Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN55114812 and National Research Register N0484123692.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberb825
Pages (from-to)Art No. b825
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Medical Journal
Issue number7702
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2009



Cite this