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1.  Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of pegvisomant for the treatment of acromegaly: a systematic review and economic evaluation 
Background
Acromegaly, an orphan disease usually caused by a benign pituitary tumour, is characterised by hyper-secretion of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1). It is associated with reduced life expectancy, cardiovascular problems, a variety of insidiously progressing detrimental symptoms and metabolic malfunction. Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Pegvisomant (PEG) is a genetically engineered GH analogue licensed as a third or fourth line option when other treatments have failed to normalise IGF-1 levels.
Methods
Evidence about effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of PEG was systematically reviewed. Data were extracted from published studies and used for a narrative synthesis of evidence. A decision analytical economic model was identified and modified to assess the cost-effectiveness of PEG.
Results
One RCT and 17 non-randomised studies were reviewed for effectiveness. PEG substantially reduced and rapidly normalised IGF-1 levels in the majority of patients, approximately doubled GH levels, and improved some of the signs and symptoms of the disease. Tumour size was unaffected at least in the short term. PEG had a generally safe adverse event profile but a few patients were withdrawn from treatment because of raised liver enzymes. An economic model was identified and adapted to estimate the lower limit for the cost-effectiveness of PEG treatment versus standard care. Over a 20 year time horizon the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was £81,000/QALY and £212,000/LYG. To reduce this to £30K/QALY would require a reduction in drug cost by about one third.
Conclusion
PEG is highly effective for improving patients' IGF-1 level. Signs and symptoms of disease improve but evidence is lacking about long term effects on improved signs and symptoms of disease, quality of life, patient compliance and safety. Economic evaluation indicated that if current standards (UK) for determining cost-effectiveness of therapies were to be applied to PEG it would be considered not to represent good value for money.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-9-20
PMCID: PMC2768727  PMID: 19814797
2.  The prevalence of and survival in Mucopolysaccharidosis I: Hurler, Hurler-Scheie and Scheie syndromes in the UK 
Background
Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) is a rare lysosomal storage disease subdivided into three phenotypes of increasing severity: Scheie, Hurler-Scheie and Hurler. To gauge the effectiveness of treatments and to determine the load likely to fall on health-care systems, it is necessary to understand the prevalence and natural progression of the disease especially with regard to life-expectancy. In general such data on the natural history of lysosomal storage diseases is sparse.
Methods
Analysis of prevalence and patient survival in MPS I disease using a unique longitudinal data set initiated and maintained over a period of more than 20 years by the Society for Mucopolysaccharide Diseases (UK).
Results
The birth prevalence of MPS I in England and Wales over the period 1981 to 2003 was 1.07/100,000 births and within ± 5% of estimates reported in several studies that examined reasonably large populations. The median survival for MPS I patients (including all phenotypes irrespective of various treatments) was found by Kaplan-Meier analysis to be 11.6 years. This result was driven by the relatively poor survival of patients with the Hurler phenotype who, irrespective of any treatments received, had a median survival of 8.7 years; when censoring for receipt of bone marrow transplant (BMT) was implemented median survival of Hurler patients was diminished to 6.8 years. The difference between these survival curves was statistically significant by log rank test and can be attributed to beneficial effects of BMT and or selection of patients with superior prognosis for intervention with BMT. Survival curves for Hurler patients who received and did not receive BMT were very different. Probability of survival at 2 year after BMT was ~68% and was similar to this after 5 years (66%) and ten years (64%); the mean age of Hurler patients at receipt of BMT was 1.33 years (range 0.1 to 3 years). Follow up was insufficient to determine median survival of the milder phenotypes however, unsurprisingly, this was clearly superior to that for Hurler patients.
Conclusion
The birth prevalence of MPS I in England and Wales is 1.07/100,000 and the median survival for MPS I patients is 11.6 years.
doi:10.1186/1750-1172-3-24
PMCID: PMC2553763  PMID: 18796143

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