Lamivudine (LAM) plus adefovir (ADV) combination therapy is clinically efficacious for treating chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients in China, but no pharmacoeconomic evaluations of this strategy are available. The aim of this study was to examine the cost-effectiveness of LAM plus ADV combination treatment compared with five other nucleos(t)ide analog monotherapies (LAM, ADV, telbivudine [TBV], entecavir [ETV], and tenofovir [TDF]).
To simulate the lifetime (40-year time span) costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) for different therapy options, a Markov model that included five initial monotherapies and LAM plus ADV combination as an initial treatment was developed. Two kinds of rescue combination strategies (base-case: LAM + ADV then ETV + ADV; alternative: direct use of ETV + ADV) were considered separately for treating patients refractory to initial therapy. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were used to explore model uncertainties.
In base-case analysis, ETV had the lowest lifetime cost and served as the reference therapy. Compared to the reference, LAM, ADV, and TBV had higher costs and lower efficacy, and were completely dominated by ETV. LAM plus ADV combination therapy or TDF was more efficacious than ETV, but also more expensive. Although the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of combination therapy or TDF were both higher than the willingness-to-pay threshold of $20,466/QALY gained for the reference treatment, in an alternative scenario analysis LAM plus ADV combination therapy would be the preferable treatment option.