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PeerJ. 2016 Mar 24;4:e1709. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1709. eCollection 2016.

Cost-effectiveness of antiviral therapy during late pregnancy to prevent perinatal transmission of hepatitis B virus.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Medical School of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China.
Department of Pediatrics, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University , Xi'an , China.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Medical School of Xi'an Jiaotong University , Xi'an , China.



Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections are perinatally transmitted from chronically infected mothers. Supplemental antiviral therapy during late pregnancy with lamivudine (LAM), telbivudine (LdT), or tenofovir (TDF) can substantially reduce perinatal HBV transmission compared to postnatal immunoprophylaxis (IP) alone. However, the cost-effectiveness of these measures is not clear.


This study evaluated the cost-effectiveness from a societal perspective of supplemental antiviral agents for preventing perinatal HBV transmission in mothers with high viral load (>6 log10 copies/mL).


A systematic review and network meta-analysis were performed for the risk of perinatal HBV transmission with antiviral therapies. A decision analysis was conducted to evaluate the clinical and economic outcomes in China of four competing strategies: postnatal IP alone (strategy IP), or in combination with perinatal LAM (strategy LAM + IP), LdT (strategy LdT + IP), or TDF (strategy TDF + IP). Antiviral treatments were administered from week 28 of gestation to 4 weeks after birth. Outcomes included treatment-related costs, number of infections, and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). One- and two-way sensitivity analyses were performed to identify influential clinical and cost-related variables. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses were used to estimate the probabilities of being cost-effective for each strategy.


LdT + IP and TDF + IP averted the most infections and HBV-related deaths, and gained the most QALYs. IP and TDF + IP were dominated as they resulted in less or equal QALYs with higher associated costs. LdT + IP had an incremental $2,891 per QALY gained (95% CI [$932-$20,372]) compared to LAM + IP (GDP per capita for China in 2013 was $6,800). One-way sensitivity analyses showed that the cost-effectiveness of LdT + IP was only sensitive to the relative risk of HBV transmission comparing LdT + IP with LAM + IP. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses demonstrated that LdT + IP was cost-effective in most cases across willingness-to-pay range of $6,800 ∼ $20,400 per QALY gained.


For pregnant HBV-infected women with high levels of viremia, supplemental use of LdT during late pregnancy combined with postnatal IP for infants is cost-effective in China.


Cost-effective; Hepatitis b virus; Lamivudine; Perinatal transmission; Pregnancy; Telbivudine; Tenofovir

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