• adefovir;
  • chronic hepatitis B;
  • cost-effectiveness;
  • lamivudine;
  • Taiwan


Background and Aims:  Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and its sequelae are major health problems in Taiwan. The purpose of the present study was the economic evaluation of short-duration treatments of CHB and longer duration antiviral treatment for up to 5 years.

Methods:  Ten-health state CHB disease progression Markov models were used for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive and HBeAg-negative CHB patients, respectively, that included the emergence of antiviral resistance. The perspective of this economic evaluation was the Taiwan health-care system. Costs and benefits were discounted at 3% per annum.

Results:  Short-course therapies of up to 1-year treatment had limited impact on improving patient survival. Long-term viral suppression with lamivudine and adefovir sequential rescue therapies (including add-on therapies) for up to 5 years were found to be highly cost-effective by international standards (estimated to be NT$580 000 per quality adjusted life year [QALY] for Taiwan). When Taiwan-specific model inputs were used for HBeAg-positive CHB, the cost per QALY for lamivudine plus adefovir sequential antiviral therapy increased by approximately 100% over the base-case estimate, but was still well within the estimated NT$580 000 per QALY threshold.

Conclusions:  In Taiwan, treatment of CHB patients with lamivudine and adefovir sequential antiviral therapies for up to 5 years results in survival benefits and is highly cost-effective.