Cost-effectiveness of first-line antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected African children less than 3 years of age.
The International Maternal, Pediatric, and Adolescent Clinical Trials P1060 trial demonstrated superior outcomes for HIV-infected children less than 3 years old initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) with lopinavir/ritonavir compared to nevirapine, but lopinavir/ritonavir is four-fold costlier.
We used the Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications (CEPAC)-Pediatric model, with published and P1060 data, to project outcomes under three strategies: no ART; first-line nevirapine (with second-line lopinavir/ritonavir); and first-line lopinavir/ritonavir (second-line nevirapine). The base-case examined South African children initiating ART at age 12 months; sensitivity analyses varied all key model parameters. Outcomes included life expectancy, lifetime costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios [ICERs; dollars/year of life saved ($/YLS)]. We considered interventions with ICERs less than 1× per-capita gross domestic product (South Africa: $7500)/YLS as 'very cost-effective,' interventions with ICERs below 3× gross domestic product/YLS as 'cost-effective,' and interventions leading to longer life expectancy and lower lifetime costs as 'cost-saving'.
Projected life expectancy was 2.8 years with no ART. Both ART regimens markedly improved life expectancy and were very cost-effective, compared to no ART. First-line lopinavir/ritonavir led to longer life expectancy (28.8 years) and lower lifetime costs ($41 350/person, from lower second-line costs) than first-line nevirapine (27.6 years, $44 030). First-line lopinavir/ritonavir remained cost-saving or very cost-effective compared to first-line nevirapine unless: liquid lopinavir/ritonavir led to two-fold higher virologic failure rates or 15-fold greater costs than in the base-case, or second-line ART following first-line lopinavir/ritonavir was very ineffective.
On the basis of P1060 data, first-line lopinavir/ritonavir leads to longer life expectancy and is cost-saving or very cost-effective compared to first-line nevirapine. This supports WHO guidelines, but increasing access to pediatric ART is critical regardless of the regimen used.
Ciaranello AL, Doherty K, Penazzato M, Lindsey JC, Harrison L, Kelly K, Walensky RP, Essajee S, Losina E, Muhe L, Wools-Kaloustian K, Ayaya S, Weinstein MC, Palumbo P, Freedberg KA. Cost-effectiveness of first-line antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected African children less than 3 years of age. AIDS. 2015 Jun 19;29(10):1247-59. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000672. PubMed PMID: 25870982; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4536981.