We have demonstrated that oral arsenic (Realgar-Indigo naturalis formula, RIF) plus all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) is not inferior to intravenous arsenic trioxide (ATO) plus ATRA as the first-line treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). To compare the cost-effectiveness of oral and intravenous arsenic, we analyzed the results of 30 patients in each group involved in a randomized controlled trial at our center. The median total medical costs were $13,183.49 in the RIF group compared with $24136.98 in the ATO group (p<0.0001). This difference primarily resulted from the different costs of induction therapy (p=0.016) and maintenance treatment (p<0.0001). The length of hospitalization for the RIF group was significantly lower than that for the ATO group (24 vs. 31 days, p<0.0001) during induction therapy. During maintenance treatment, the estimated medical costs were $2047.14 for each patient in the RIF group treated at home compared with $11273.81 for each patient in the ATO group treated in an outpatient setting (p<0.0001). We conclude that oral RIF plus ATRA significantly reduced the medical costs and length of hospital stay during induction and remission therapy compared with ATO plus ATRA in APL patients.