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Widespread ceftriaxone antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens (NG) treatment, with few alternatives available. AMR point-of-care tests (AMR POCT) may enable alternative treatments, including abandoned regimens, sparing ceftriaxone use. We assessed cost-effectiveness of five hypothetical AMR POCT strategies: A-C included a second antibiotic alongside ceftriaxone; and D and E consisted of a single antibiotic alternative, compared with standard care (SC: ceftriaxone and azithromycin).


Assess costs and effectiveness of AMR POCT strategies that optimise NG treatment and reduce ceftriaxone use.


The five AMR POCT treatment strategies were compared using a decision tree model simulating 38,870 NG-diagnosed England sexual health clinic (SHC) attendees; A micro-costing approach, representing cost to the SHC (for 2015/16), was employed. Primary outcomes were: total costs; percentage of patients given optimal treatment (regimens curing NG, without AMR); percentage of patients given non-ceftriaxone optimal treatment; cost-effectiveness (cost per optimal treatment gained).


All strategies cost more than SC. Strategy B (azithromycin and ciprofloxacin (azithromycin preferred); dual therapy) avoided most suboptimal treatments (n = 48) but cost most to implement (GBP 4,093,844 (EUR 5,474,656)). Strategy D (azithromycin AMR POCT; monotherapy) was most cost-effective for both cost per optimal treatments gained (GBP 414.67 (EUR 554.53)) and per ceftriaxone-sparing treatment (GBP 11.29 (EUR 15.09)) but with treatment failures (n = 34) and suboptimal treatments (n = 706).


AMR POCT may enable improved antibiotic stewardship, but require net health system investment. A small reduction in test cost would enable monotherapy AMR POCT strategies to be cost-saving.


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