Background: Current antiviral therapies for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) rarely achieve functional cure, thus often requiring lifelong therapy. A therapy achieving functional cure in a significant percentage of patients could change the treatment landscape substantially. However, the acceptability of functional cure by patients is unknown, especially if associated with additional treatment burden.
Methods: A Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) including patients with CHB was performed between 2018 and 2019 in Germany. Patient inclusion criteria were confirmed CHB; age of at least 18 years; no history of hepatocellular carcinoma; no HIV or HCV/HDV co-infection. The final DCE included the following attributes: route of administration (oral administration by tablets; subcutaneous injection + tablets; intramuscular electroporation + tablets), side effect frequency (0/1/3 days per month), functional cure (1%/30%/50% of patients), frequency of physician visits (monthly, half-yearly) and travel time to treating physician (15/45 min).
Results: The main analysis sample consisted of 108 patients with CHB (mean age: 49.1 years, female: 37.0%, average time since CHB diagnosis: 14.0 years, 52.8% with Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) chronic HBV infection). High efficacy was found to be the main driver of decisions for/against the presented treatment options (impacted 57% of patients' decisions), followed by therapy regimen (17%), safety profile (12%) and number of physician visits (11%). Latent class analysis revealed first insights into different decision patterns, with age, gender and previous side-effect experience affecting patients' decisions.
Conclusion: In comparison to all other treatment-related attributes such as therapy regimen or safety profile, patients with CHB showed a strong preference towards a scenario where a substantial number of patients benefit from sustained disease remission, which mimics functional cure.
Keywords: antiviral therapies; discrete choice experiment; functional cure; hepatitis B; patient preferences; sustained virologic response.
© 2020 Hardtstock et al.