Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alarming trend: Antiviral therapy to treat hepatitis C is declining in the US

Date:
November 24, 2009
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Researchers have determined that only 663,000 of the approximately 3.9 million Americans with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection received antiviral therapy between 2002 and 2007. If this disturbing trend continues, by 2030 less than 15 percent of liver-related deaths from HCV will be prevented by antiviral therapy.

Researchers from the University of Michigan determined that only 663,000 of the approximately 3.9 million Americans with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection received antiviral therapy between 2002 and 2007. Treatment rates appear to be declining, in part because only half of the patients know they are infected. If this disturbing trend continues, by 2030 less than 15% of liver-related deaths from HCV will be prevented by antiviral therapy.

This study, the first to analyze nationwide practice patterns for HCV treatment, is published in the December issue of Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

HCV is a common blood-borne infection that slowly damages the liver by causing inflammation of liver tissue, which can lead to cirrhosis, chronic liver disease, and liver cancer. In the U.S., HCV is a major public health burden and the leading cause of liver transplantation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 8,000-12,000 deaths occur each year due to HCV. While the incidence of new infections has declined, past studies point to a twofold to fourfold increase in death over the next 20 years due to widespread cases with longstanding infection.

Michael Volk, M.D., M.Sc., and colleagues obtained data of new patient prescriptions for pegylated interferon alpha-2a and -2b, sold under the brand names Pegasys and Peg Intron, respectively, and filled between 2002- 2007. Results of the prescription audit showed there were 126,000 new prescriptions for pegylated interferon products in 2002 and by 2007 that figured declined to 83,000 prescriptions. Researchers project fewer than 1.4 million patients would be treated cumulatively with antiviral medication by 2030 if the downward trend continued.

To further understand the decrease in antiviral therapy, researchers investigated treatment decisions using data from the National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey (NHANES) Hepatitis C Follow-Up Questionnaire. They discovered that 49% of respondents were previously unaware of their diagnosis and 24% of patients with HCV were not recommended for treatment by their physician. Approximately 9% of those surveyed did not follow up with their doctors regarding their HCV, 8% refused treatment, and only 12% received treatment. "It is concerning that half of all people with hepatitis C in the U.S. are unaware of their diagnosis," said Dr. Volk. "Even with the development of new and better medications on the horizon, such medications will have less than optimal impact unless more patients are diagnosed and referred for treatment."

The study further suggested that barriers to HCV screening may be attributed to lack of health insurance, limited access to standard medical care, and lower priority for testing by primary care doctors. "This is unfortunate," added Dr. Volk, "since young patients who don't go to the doctor often may be the best candidates for antiviral therapy." The authors conclude that increased public health efforts are needed to improve access to antiviral therapy, and recommend further research of health services delivery and quality of care for HCV patients.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael L. Volk, Rachel Tocco, Sameer Saini, Anna S. F. Lok. Public health impact of antiviral therapy for hepatitis C in the United States. Hepatology, 2009; 50 (6): 1750 DOI: 10.1002/hep.23220

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Alarming trend: Antiviral therapy to treat hepatitis C is declining in the US." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091124082757.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2009, November 24). Alarming trend: Antiviral therapy to treat hepatitis C is declining in the US. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091124082757.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Alarming trend: Antiviral therapy to treat hepatitis C is declining in the US." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091124082757.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins