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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 1

of 'Decision analysis'

Influence of alternative thresholds for initiating HIV treatment on quality-adjusted life expectancy: a decision model.
Braithwaite RS, Roberts MS, Chang CC, Goetz MB, Gibert CL, Rodriguez-Barradas MC, Shechter S, Schaefer A, Nucifora K, Koppenhaver R, Justice AC
Ann Intern Med. 2008;148(3):178.
BACKGROUND: The optimal threshold for initiating HIV treatment is unclear.
OBJECTIVE: To compare different thresholds for initiating HIV treatment.
DESIGN: A validated computer simulation was used to weigh important harms from earlier initiation of antiretroviral therapy (toxicity, side effects, and resistance accumulation) against important benefits (decreased HIV-related mortality).
DATA SOURCES: Veterans Aging Cohort Study (5742 HIV-infected patients and 11 484 matched uninfected controls) and published reports.
TARGET POPULATION: Individuals with newly diagnosed chronic HIV infection and varying viral loads (10,000, 30,000, 100,000, and 300,000 copies/mL) and ages (30, 40, and 50 years).
TIME HORIZON: Unlimited.
INTERVENTION: Alternative thresholds for initiating antiretroviral therapy (CD4 counts of 200, 350, and 500 cells/mm3).
OUTCOME MEASURES: Life-years and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).
RESULTS OF BASE-CASE ANALYSIS: Although the simulation was biased against earlier treatment initiation because it used an upper-bound assumption for therapy-related toxicity, earlier treatment increased life expectancy and QALYs at age 30 years regardless of viral load (life expectancies with CD4 initiation thresholds of 500, 350, and 200 cells/mm3 were 18.2 years, 17.6 years, and 17.2 years, respectively, for a viral load of 10,000 copies/mL and 17.3 years, 15.9 years, and 14.5 years, respectively, for a viral load of 300,000 copies/mL), and increased life expectancies at age 40 years if viral loads were greater than 30 000 copies/mL (life expectancies were 12.5 years, 12.0 years, and 11.4 years, respectively, for a viral load of 300,000 copies/mL).
RESULTS OF SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS: Findings favoring early treatment were generally robust.
LIMITATIONS: Results favoring later treatment may not be valid. The findings may not be generalizable to women.
CONCLUSION: This simulation suggests that earlier initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy is often favored compared with current recommendations.
Yale University and Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, Connecticut 06516, USA. Ronald.Braithwaite@va.gov