AASLD / IDSA Guidance - Treat All Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C


Successful hepatitis C treatment results in sustained virologic response (SVR), which is tantamount to virologic cure, and as such, is expected to benefit nearly all chronically infected persons. When the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first IFN-sparing treatment for HCV infection, many patients who had previously been “warehoused” sought treatment, and the infrastructure (experienced practitioners, budgeted health-care dollars, etc) did not yet exist to treat all patients immediately. Thus, the panel offered guidance for prioritizing treatment first to those with the greatest need. Since that time, there have been opportunities to treat many of the highest-risk patients and to accumulate real-world experience of the tolerability and safety of newer HCV medications. More importantly, from a medical standpoint, data continue to accumulate that demonstrate the many benefits, within the liver and extrahepatic, that accompany HCV eradication. Therefore, the panel continues to recommend treatment for all patients with chronic HCV infection, except those with short life expectancies that cannot be remediated by treating HCV, by transplantation, or by other directed therapy. Accordingly, prioritization tables are now less useful and have been removed from this section.

Despite the strong recommendation for treatment for nearly all HCV-infected patients, pretreatment assessment of a patient’s understanding of treatment goals and provision of education on adherence and follow-up are essential. A well-established therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient remains crucial for optimal outcomes with new direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapies. Additionally, in certain settings there remain factors that impact access to medications and the ability to deliver them to patients. In these settings, practitioners may still need to decide which patients should be treated first. The descriptions below of unique populations may help physicians make more informed treatment decisions for these groups. (See sections on HIV/HCV coinfection, cirrhosis, liver transplantation, and renal impairment).

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