Dr Helen Yee and colleagues evaluated data from the Department of Veterans Affairs Hepatitis C Resource Center Program and the National Hepatitis C Program Office.
The research team aimed to make recommendations on the management and treatment of Hepatitis C.
Chronic Hepatitis C virus infection affects just over 1% of the general U.S. population.
It also affects 510% of veterans who use Department of Veterans Affairs medical services.
Chronic Hepatitis C is linked to the development of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and end-stage liver disease requiring liver transplantation.
The consequences of Hepatitis C infection constitute a significant disease burden and demonstrate the need for effective medical care.
Treatment of chronic Hepatitis C is aimed at slowing disease progression, and preventing complications of cirrhosis.
|Hepatitis C affects just over 1% of the general U.S. population|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
Treatment also aims to reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, and treating extrahepatic complications of the virus.
The team reported that antiviral therapy with peginterferon alfa combined with ribavirin is the current standard of care.
It should be provided to those individuals who meet criteria for treatment and who are at greatest risk for progressive liver disease.
Many of these patients may have comorbid medical and psychiatric conditions, which may worsen while on antiviral therapy.
The researchers reported that current antiviral regimens are associated with significant adverse effects that can lead to noncompliance.
Other adverse effects include dose reduction, and treatment discontinuation.
The team emphasize that to overcome these barriers and to address these issues, it has become crucial to facilitate a multidisciplinary team.
The researchers advise that it is this team which can respond to and provide Hepatitis C-specific care and treatment.
The team observed screening for Hepatitis C, and preventing transmission improve patient outcomes.
Delaying disease progression, and ensuring appropriate antiviral therapy also improves patient outcomes.
The researchers identified other factors, including managing treatment-related adverse effects that improve patient quality of life.
Treatment adherence also improves patient outcomes.
Dr Yee's team comments, “We make recommendations on the management and treatment of Hepatitis C using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs Hepatitis C Resource Center Program and the National Hepatitis C Program Office.
“We also identified several factors that improve quality of life and patient outcomes.”