Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the economic consequences of nucleoside analog therapy for hepatitis B treatment in China.
Methods: A cost-utility analysis of treatments for HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B (CHB) was conducted using a Markov model, in which patients' yearly transitions between different health states were tracked. Patients were tracked as they moved between the following health states: CHB, HBeAg seroconversion (HBeAg-positive CHB patients can have this special health state), virologic resistance, virologic response, compensated cirrhosis, decompensated cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver transplantation, and death. The transition parameters were derived either from systematic reviews of the literature or from previous economic studies. Cost and utility data came from studies based on a Chinese CHB cohort. One-way sensitivity analyses as well as second-order Monte Carlo and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed.
Results: The entecavir strategy yielded the most quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for both HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative patients when compared with the "no treatment," the lamivudine, the adefovir, and the telbivudine strategies. The risks of complications and mortality also decreased. In the economic analysis, the "no treatment" strategy was the least effective, whereas the entecavir strategy was both the least expensive and the most cost-effective option, followed by telbivudine and lamivudine. The probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed that the entecavir strategy would result in improved cost-effectiveness in >90% of cases at a threshold of $20,000 per QALY. In a one-way sensitivity analysis, the most influential parameters impacting the model's robustness were the utilities of the CHB and virologic response health states.
Conclusions: In China, when treating both HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative CHB populations, entecavir is the most cost-effective option when compared with lamivudine, adefovir, and telbivudine.