OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of stand-alone and blended internet-based vestibular rehabilitation (VR) in comparison with usual care (UC) for chronic vestibular syndromes in general practice.
DESIGN: Economic evaluation alongside a three-armed, individually randomised controlled trial.
SETTING: 59 Dutch general practices.
PARTICIPANTS: 322 adults, aged 50 years and older with a chronic vestibular syndrome.
INTERVENTIONS: Stand-alone VR consisted of a 6-week, internet-based intervention with weekly online sessions and daily exercises. In blended VR, this intervention was supplemented with face-to-face physiotherapy support. UC group participants received usual general practice care without restrictions.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Societal costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), Vertigo Symptom Scale-Short Form (VSS-SF), clinically relevant response (≥3 points VSS-SF improvement).
RESULTS: Mean societal costs in both the stand-alone and blended VR groups were statistically non-significantly higher than in the UC group (mean difference (MD) €504, 95% CI -1082 to 2268; and €916, 95% CI -663 to 2596). Both stand-alone and blended VR groups reported non-significantly more QALYs than the UC group (MD 0.02, 95% CI -0.00 to 0.04; and 0.01, 95% CI -0.01 to 0.03), and significantly better VSS-SF Scores (MD 3.8 points, 95% CI 1.7 to 6.0; and 3.3 points, 95% CI 1.3 to 5.2). For stand-alone VR compared with UC, the probability of cost-effectiveness was 0.95 at a willingness-to-pay ratio of €24 161/QALY, €600/point improvement in VSS-SF and €8000/clinically relevant responder in VSS-SF. For blended VR versus UC, the probability of cost-effectiveness was 0.95 at a willingness-to-pay ratio of €123 335/QALY, €900/point improvement in VSS-SF and €24 000/clinically relevant responder in VSS-SF.
CONCLUSION: Stand-alone and blended internet-based VR non-significantly increased QALYs and significantly reduced vestibular symptoms compared with UC, while costs in both groups were non-significantly higher. Stand-alone VR has the highest probability to be cost-effective compared with UC.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: The Netherlands Trial Register NTR5712.