hepatitis C treatment

A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in San Francisco, USA, demonstrated how significant cost savings could be made regarding hepatitis C treatment.

Hepatitis C is an infection resulting from a virus known as hepatitis C virus (HCV). The virusis spread through infected blood and can result in liver damage, liver failure, and liver cancer. Approximately 70 million individuals worldwide are infected with HCV.

To treat or cure hepatitis C, a class of medications called direct-acting anti-virals (DAA) are often administrated. Over 90% of patients are cured with the use of these medications with very little side effects, however, the cost of these medications are extremely high and thus limits the access to their use.

A recent study has provided preliminary data demonstrating that in 50% of patients, the standard 12-week treatment using these medications could be shortened to as little as six weeks without decreasing the effectiveness of the medications. The results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in San Francisco, USA, which took place between November 9-13, 2018.

A total of 22 patients have been enrolled in the study thus far, and 21 patients have remained free from the HCV infection following a shortened treatment regimen. The reason why one patient has not remained free from the HCV is because they have a difficult-to-treat HCV, known as genotype 3.

During this study, researchers have adopted a personalized medicine technique referred to as modelling-based response-guided therapy in order to decrease treatment times when possible. This study has demonstrated that using this response-guided therapy reducing treatment times is worthwhile, it does not compromise the efficacy of the treatment options but it does have the potential to produce cost savings of up to 20%.

To substantiate these results, a large multi-centre trial is now being carried out in Israel.

Written by Jade Marie Evans, MPharm, Medical Writer

Reference: Eurekalert . 2018. Hepatitis C treatment can be shortened in 50 percent of patients, study finds. [Online]. [21 November 2018]. Available from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-11/luhs-hct110618.php

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