Date: 04 Nov 2012

The History and Evolution of the Clinical Effectiveness of Haemophilia Type A Treatment: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

First evidence of cases of haemophilia dates from ancient Egypt, but it was when Queen Victoria from England in the 19th century transmitted this illness to her descendants, when it became known as the “royal disease”. Last decades of the 20th century account for major discoveries that improved the life expectancy and quality of life of these patients. The history and evolution of haemophilia healthcare counts ups and downs. The introduction of prophylactic schemes during the 1970s have proved to be more effective that the classic on-demand replacement of clotting factors, nevertheless many patients managed with frequent plasma transfusions or derived products became infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C virus during the 1980s and 1990s. Recombinant factor VIII inception has decreased the risk of blood borne infections and restored back longer life expectancies. Main concerns for haemophilia healthcare are shifting from the pure clinical aspects to the economic considerations of long-term replacement therapy. Nowadays researchers’ attention has been placed on the future costs and cost-effectiveness of costly long-term treatment. Equity considerations are relevant as well, and alternative options for less affluent countries are under the scope of further research. The aim of this review was to assess the evidence of different treatment options for haemophilia type A over the past four decades, focusing on the most important technological advances that have influenced the natural course of this “royal disease”.