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Disease progression and health care resource consumption in patients affected by hepatitis C virus in real practice setting

Authors Perrone V, Sangiorgi D, Buda S, Degli Esposti L

Received 11 March 2016

Accepted for publication 1 July 2016

Published 14 October 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 591—597


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Giorgio Lorenzo Colombo

Valentina Perrone, Diego Sangiorgi, Stefano Buda, Luca Degli Esposti

CliCon S.r.l. Health, Economics & Outcomes Research, Ravenna, Italy

Introduction: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection represents serious health problems worldwide and is a major contributor to end-stage liver disease including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In Italy, ~2% of subjects are infected with HCV. The objective of this study was to describe treatment patterns, disease progression, and resource use in HCV.
Methods: An observational retrospective cohort analysis based on four Local Health Units administrative and laboratory databases was conducted. HCV-positive patients between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 were included and followed-up for 1 year. To explore which covariates were associated to disease progression (cirrhosis, HCC, death for any cause), Cox proportional hazards models were performed.
Results: A total of 9,514 patients were analyzed of which 55.6% were male, aged 58.1±16.1, and prevalence 0.4%; 5.8% were positive to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, 3.0% to hepatitis B virus (HBV), and 1.6% to HCV+HBV+HIV; 26.1% had cirrhosis and 4.3% HCC. The majority of patients (76%) did not receive an antiviral treatment; the main factors affecting this decision were age, 44.1% of untreated patients being aged >65 years; 31% were affected by cirrhosis, 6.6% had ongoing substance or alcohol abuse, and 5.5% were affected by HCC. Disease progression in the observed timeframe was less frequent among treated patients (incidence rate per 100 patients/year: cirrhosis 2.1±0.7 vs 13.0±1.0, HCC 0.5±0.3 vs 3.6±0.5, death 0.5±0.3 vs 6.4±0.7). The annual expenditure for HCV management (drugs, hospitalizations, outpatient services) was €4,700 per patient.
Conclusion: This observational, real-life study shows that only a small proportion of patients received antiviral therapy in the territorial services investigated; among patients who were not treated, this is reflected in a disease progression and cost of management higher than treated patients. These results suggest the importance of better defining the categories of patients who can really postpone treatment, and those who require immediate antiviral therapy.

Keywords: hepatitis C virus, HCV, hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC, cirrhosis, real practice, cost of illness

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