HDCN Article Review/Hyperlink

Bennett WG, Inoue Y, Beck R, Wong JB, Pauker SG, Davis GL

Estimates of the cost-effectiveness of a single course of interferon-alpha2b in patients with histologically mild chronic hepatitis C

Ann Intern Med (Nov) 127:855-865 1997

There are three full text papers and one editorial in the November 1997 Annals of Internal Medicine pertaining to treatment of hepatitis C.

The first paper by Bennett and the authors listed above, studied the cost effectiveness of interferon-alpha2b as a function of age, and found therapy to be cost- effective in younger patients, but not in older patients.

The second paper, by Kim et al, compared cost-effectiveness of 6 and 12 month regimens of interferon-alpha for hepatitis C, and found both to be cost effective for patients < 60 years of age, with the 6 month regimen being more cost effective, but less efficacious.

The third study, by Marcellin and colleagues, looks at long-term histologic improvement and intrahepatic HCV RNA in those patients who do have a sustained response to interferon alpha therapy.

All of the data are summarized in an editorial by RS Koff, who concludes that interferon alpha Rx is both effective and affordable. Unfortunately, the exciting dual therapy using interferon plus ribavirin, and the attendant higher response rate associated with this new therapy, are not touched upon in these papers. (John T. Daugirdas, M.D., University of Illinois at Chicago)