Cost-effectiveness analysis of initial HIV treatment under Italian guidelines

Giorgio L. Colombo, Vincenzo Colangeli, Antonio di Biagio, Sergio di Matteo, Claudio Viscoli, Pierluigi Viale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Since the mid-1990s, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has modified the clinical course of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, reducing the rate of disease progression, the incidence of opportunistic infections, and mortality. The authors of this paper performed an economic analysis to estimate the cost-effectiveness of the HAART regimens in Italy for managing HIV-infected patients according to national guidelines. Patients and methods: The incremental cost-effectiveness analysis was carried out by means of a Markov model, which through a decision-analytic approach, made it possible to compare the studied antiretroviral regimens. The population considered in the model consisted of adult subjects with HIV who received antiretroviral HAART treatment for the first time. The population considered in the analysis reflects the patients' characteristics according to one of the regional surveillance systems HIV/AIDS infection report currently operating in Italy. The analysis was carried out from the point of view of the Italian health care system. The considered outcome measures were quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and direct health costs calculated for the year 2010. Both the outcomes (QALYs) and the costs were discounted by 3.5%. The time horizon adopted in the model was 10 years. Results: The model shows, in terms of cost per gained QALY, single tablet regimen (STR) appeared to be the most cost-effective therapeutic choice (€22,017), followed by tenofovir (TDF) + lamivudine + efavirenz (EFV) (€24,526), and TDF/emtricitabine (FTC) + nevirapine (€26,416), and TDF + FTC + EFV (€26,558); the remaining strategies have an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) value varying from €28,000 to €41,000 per QALY. The sensitivity analysis on the main variables confrmed the validity of the base case scenario. Conclusion: STR is the most cost-effective treatment strategy, compared with the other therapeutic regimens recommended by the Italian guidelines. All the ICER values of the various regimens considered by the Italian guidelines were lower than the threshold value of €50,000 commonly accepted at the international level. The model developed represents a tool for policy makers and health care professionals to make short- and long-term cost projections and thus evaluate their impact on the available budgets for HIV patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Antiretroviral therapy regimens
  • Markov model
  • QALYs
  • Quality-adjusted life years
  • Single tablet regimens
  • STR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Cost-effectiveness analysis of initial HIV treatment under Italian guidelines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this