Cost-effectiveness of recombinant human erythropoietin versus transfusions in the treatment of zidovudine-related anemia in HIV-infected children.
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The objectives of this study were to compare the costs and benefits of recombinant human erythropoietin (r-HuEPO) relative to repeated transfusions in the treatment of zidovudine (AZT)-related anemia among HIV-infected children. The study was based on a tertiary care Canadian Pediatric Hospital Model. A decision analytic structure was used for the evaluation of cost-effectiveness. The decision tree involved two options. In option A:r-HuEPO, subjects receive r-HuEPO three times weekly at home for 1 year, whereas in B:no r-HuEPO, transfusions are given on a monthly basis in a medical short-stay unit over a 1-year period. Probabilities of various outcomes and downstream events were obtained from a literature review. The analysis was conducted from the perspective of the health-care system and utilized standard cost-effectiveness methodology. The results indicated that for every child receiving r-HuEPO, the total cost is Can $11,245 for 1 year compared with $3,130 per year for those in B:no r-HuEPO. The incremental cost effectiveness of A:r-HuEPO relative to B:no r-HuEPO is $1,373 per transfusion episode averted. The order of magnitude of the results was not significantly affected by changes in any of the assumptions used for the cost estimates or baseline probability values.
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