Management of hepatitis C virus infection: the basics.
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects some 170 million people worldwide, including 3 to 4 million in the United States who are largely unaware of their infection status. HCV has 6 genotypes; genotype 1 is the most common in the United States and genotypes 1 and 4 are less responsive to interferon alfa-based therapy than the other genotypes. Treatment with available direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs has increased sustained virologic response (SVR) rates in genotype 1 infection and shortened duration of therapy in many patients, but at this time these agents must still be administered with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin to prevent rapid emergence of resistance. Baseline predictors of response to therapy continue to play a role with triple-drug combination therapy including the pharmacogenetic IL28B genotype, which differs in prevalence throughout the world. The stopping/futility rules are different for triple-drug combination therapy, allowing for earlier decision-making. Ultimately, SVR is the goal of HCV treatment because it dramatically reduces likelihood of poor long-term outcome, even among patients with histologically advanced disease. This article summarizes a basic review presented by Susanna Naggie, MD, at the IAS-USA live management of HCV continuing medical education program held in Atlanta in October 2012. This article is intended for practitioners who are new to HCV management or who are interested in reviewing the basics of HCV treatments.
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