To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of different drug therapies for chronic hepatitis B in adult patients.
Using a Markov model, a hypothetical cohort of 40 years for HBeAg-positive or HBeAg-negative patients was constructed. Adefovir, entecavir, tenofovir and lamivudine (with rescue therapy in cases of viral resistance) were compared for treating adult patients with chronic hepatitis B undergoing treatment for the first time, with high levels of alanine aminotransferase, no evidence of cirrhosis and without HIV co-infection. Values for cost and effect were obtained from the literature, and expressed in effect on life years (LY). A discount rate of 5% was applied. Univariate sensitivity analysis was conducted to assess model uncertainties.
Initial treatment with entecavir or tenofovir showed better clinical outcomes. The lowest cost-effectiveness ratio was for entecavir in HBeAg-positive patients (R$ 4,010.84/LY) and lamivudine for HBeAg-negative patients (R$ 6,205.08/LY). For HBeAg-negative patients, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of entecavir (R$ 14,101.05/LY) is below the threshold recommended by the World Health Organization. Sensitivity analysis showed that variation in the cost of drugs may make tenofovir a cost-effective alternative for both HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative patients.
Entecavir is the recommended alternative to start treating patients with chronic hepatitis B in Brazil. However, if there is a reduction in the cost of tenofovir, it can become a cost-effective alternative.
Hepatitis B, Chronic, drug therapy; Antiviral Agents, supply & distribution; Cost-Effectiveness Evaluation; Unified Health System, economics