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OBJECTIVES: We applied principles for conducting economic evaluations of factorial trials to a trial-based economic evaluation of a cluster-randomized 2 × 2 × 2 factorial trial. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of atorvastatin, omega-3 fish oil, and an action-planning leaflet, alone and in combination, from a UK National Health Service perspective. METHODS: The Atorvastatin in Factorial With Omega EE90 Risk Reduction in Diabetes (AFORRD) Trial randomized 800 patients with type 2 diabetes to atorvastatin, omega-3, or their respective placebos and randomized general practices to receive a leaflet-based action-planning intervention designed to improve compliance or standard care. The trial was conducted at 59 UK general practices. Sixteen-week outcomes for each trial participant were extrapolated for 70 years using the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study Outcomes Model v2.01. We analyzed the trial as a 2 × 2 factorial trial (ignoring interactions between action-planning leaflet and medication), as a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial trial (considering all interactions), and ignoring all interactions. RESULTS: We observed several qualitative interactions for costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) that changed treatment rankings. However, different approaches to analyzing the factorial design did not change the conclusions. There was a ≥99% chance that atorvastatin is cost-effective and omega-3 is not, at a £20 000/QALY threshold. CONCLUSIONS: Atorvastatin monotherapy was the most cost-effective combination of the 3 trial interventions at a £20 000/QALY threshold. Omega-3 fish oil was not cost-effective, while there was insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions about action planning. Recently-developed methods for analyzing factorial trials and combining parameter and sampling uncertainty were extended to estimate cost-effectiveness acceptability curves within a 2x2x2 factorial design with model-based extrapolation.

Original publication




Journal article


Value Health

Publication Date





1340 - 1348


adherence, economic evaluation, factorial design, individual patient simulation model, lipids, randomized controlled trial, type 2 diabetes, Adult, Atorvastatin, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Drug Costs, Fatty Acids, Omega-3, Female, Fish Oils, Health Care Costs, Humans, Male, Quality-Adjusted Life Years, Risk Reduction Behavior