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BACKGROUND: Talaromycosis (penicilliosis) is an invasive fungal infection and a major cause of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related deaths in Southeast Asia. Guidelines recommend induction therapy with amphotericin B deoxycholate; however, treatment with itraconazole has fewer toxic effects, is easier to administer, and is less expensive. Our recent randomized controlled trial in Vietnam found that amphotericin B was superior to itraconazole with respect to 6-month mortality. We undertook an economic evaluation alongside this trial to determine whether the more effective treatment is cost-effective. METHODS: Resource use, direct and indirect costs, and health and quality-of-life outcomes (measured using quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs]) were evaluated for 405 trial participants from 2012 to 2016. Both a Vietnamese health service and a broader societal costing perspective were considered. Mean costs and QALYs were combined to calculate the within-trial cost-effectiveness of amphotericin vs itraconazole from both perspectives. RESULTS: From a Vietnamese health service perspective, amphotericin increases costs but improves health outcomes compared to itraconazole, at a cost of $3013/QALY gained. The probability that amphotericin is cost-effective at a conventional (World Health Organization CHOICE) threshold of value for money is 46%. From a societal perspective, amphotericin is cost-reducing and improves outcomes compared to itraconazole, and is likely to be a cost-effective strategy at any value for money threshold greater than $0. CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis indicates that induction therapy with amphotericin is a cost-effective treatment strategy for HIV-infected adults diagnosed with talaromycosis in Vietnam. These results provide the evidence base for health care providers and policy makers to improve access to and use of amphotericin.

Original publication




Journal article


Open Forum Infect Dis

Publication Date





HIV, amphotericin B, cost-effectiveness, itraconazole, talaromycosis