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Summary

Background

Different peg-interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin treatment strategies are more effective in treating hepatitis C. However, no cost-effectiveness data have been published using the clinical data from the peg-interferon alpha-2b and ribavirin in the treatment of patients with hepatitis C in Taiwan.

Aim

To estimate the cost-effectiveness of different treatments with peg-interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin for the initial treatment of patients with different genotype chronic hepatitis C.

Methods

Individual patient level data from a randomized clinical trial with peg-interferon plus ribavirin were applied to a Markov model to project lifelong clinical outcomes. Economic estimates and quality of life were based on published data and Taiwan patient data. We used a societal perspective and applied a 3% annual discount rate.

Results

Compared with different combination therapy strategies, peg-interferon alpha-2b plus weight-based dosing of ribavirin in all patients for 24 weeks is the most cost-effective treatment strategy. If the sustained virological response of peg-interferon plus ribavirin treatment for 48 weeks therapy in genotype 1 patients was higher than 67.8%, the best strategy of treating patients will be the peg-interferon plus weight-based dosing of ribavirin therapy for 48 weeks in genotype 1 patients and for 24 weeks in non-genotype 1 patients.

Conclusions

Peg-interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin combination for 24 weeks therapy in all genotype patients should reduce the incidence of liver complications, prolong life, improve quality of life and be cost-effective for the initial treatment of chronic hepatitis C.