Cost effectiveness of human immunodeficiency virus postexposure prophylaxis for healthcare workers

Scheid, D.C.; Hamm, R.M.; Stevens, K.W.
October 2000
PharmacoEconomics;2000, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p355
Academic Journal
journal article
Objective: The United States Public Health Service (USPHS) published recommendations for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) of healthcare workers in May 1998. The aim of this study was to analyse the cost effectiveness of the USPHS PEP guidelines.Design and Setting: This was a modelling study in the setting of the US healthcare system in 1989. The analysis was performed from the societal perspective; however, only HIV healthcare costs were considered and health-related losses of productivity were not included.Methods: A decision tree incorporating a Markov model was created for 4 PEP strategies: the current USPHS recommendations, triple drug therapy, zidovudine monotherapy or no prophylaxis. A probabilistic sensitivity analysis using a Monte Carlo simulation was performed. Confidence intervals (CIs) around cost-effectiveness estimates were estimated by a bootstrapping method.Results: The costs (in 1997 US dollars) per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) save by each strategy were as follows: monotherapy $US688 (95% CI: $US624 to $US750); USPHS recommendations $US5211 (95% CI: $US5126 to $US5293); and triple drug therapy $US8827 (95% CI: $US8715 to $US8940). The marginal cost per year of life saved was: USPHS recommendations $US81 987 (95% CI: $US80 437 to $US83 689); triple drug therapy $US970 451 (95% CI: $US924 786 to $US 1 014 429). Sensitivity testing showed that estimates of the probability of seroconversion for each category of exposure were most influential, but did not change the order of strategies in the baseline analysis. With the prolonged HIV stage durations and increased costs associated with recent innovations in HIV therapy, the marginal cost effectiveness of the USPHS PEP strategy was decreased to $US62 497/QALY saved. All 3 intervention strategies were cost effective compared with no postexposure prophylaxis.Conclusions: Current USPHS PEP recommendations are marginally cost effective compared with monotherapy, but the additional efficacy of triple drug therapy for all risk categories is rewarded by only a small reduction in HIV infections at great expense. For the foreseeable future, assuming innovations in therapy that employ expensive drug combinations earlier in the HIV disease course to extend life expectancy and the increasing prevalence of HIV drug resistance, our model supports the use of the USPHS PEP guidelines.



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