Based on an American multicenter study, an economic evaluation of prophylactic misoprostol was undertaken in Sweden. The study included 420 patients with osteoarthritis and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-associated abdominal pain, but no gastric ulcer at inclusion. The frequency of ulcer development with and without prophylactic misoprostol was assessed at 21.7% and 5.6%, respectively, for a 3-month period. All costs for drugs, ambulatory care, hospital care, loss of production, as well as other factors such as dosage and compliance, were transferred to Swedish conditions. It was concluded that in patients with osteoarthritis and NSAID-induced abdominal pain, prophylaxis with misoprostol is cost-effective in Sweden, which is similar to what is found for other countries. A prerequisite for this result is a frequency of ulcer development of 15%. A patient compliance to prophylactic treatment of more than 60% is also presupposed (79% was observed in the above study). Due to the high age of the osteoarthritis patient population, the cost-effectiveness is influenced to only a minor extent by whether indirect costs are included in the calculation.