Cost effectiveness and quality of life considerations in the treatment of hepatitis C infection
H Jafferbhoy, W Gashau, JF Dillon
Gut Group, Biomedical Research Institute, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK
Abstract: Chronic hepatitis C1 is a common cause of liver disease worldwide. It is a slow and progressive condition which can lead to decompensated cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatitis C virus1 impairs quality of life (QOL) even in the absence of chronic liver disease, but its relative silent nature can lead to a delay in diagnosis. The current standard of care of treatment is pegylated interferon and ribavarin. This achieves a sustained virological response (SVR), which is a cure of infection, in up to 80% of patients depending on viral genotype. The attainment of SVR improves survival, avoids long-term complications, and improves QOL. But treatment is not only expensive; there are issues of tolerability and adverse effects. This has led to a multitude of cost effective analysis and health technology assessment on HCV treatment. This overview discusses the natural history of the virus infection and its effect on the patients’ QOL. It focuses on the treatment options available, their efficacy, and cost effectiveness. It reviews the evaluations that suggest combination therapy is cost effective and explores the assumptions and limitations of these studies in real world treatment arenas.
Keywords: hepatitis C, quality of life, cost effective
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