Even When Treatment Fails, There’s Still Hope

There has been – justifiably – so much good news about very effective treatments for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections that it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that not everyone is cured with these treatments. Yes, the sustained viral responses are incredibly high for most genotypes of infection. However, there are some…

Message from the ‘Ramblin’ Man’

The year was 1972 and the Allman Brothers Band released the album “Eat a Peach.” I just about wore out that piece of vinyl. If you have a soft spot in your heart for that hit album and this southern rock band, then I’d bet that you, like me, were sad to learn of the…

A World Without Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C has been around for a long time; however, the virus was not scientifically identified until 1989. A few years later, the FDA approved the first treatment for this disease. This treatment, based on interferon, was the only treatment we could use at the time, but unfortunately did not provide high cure rates and…

The 2017 Hepatitis C Treatment Landscape

Last year, 2016, brought a whirlwind of changes and progress to the hepatitis C field, particularly when it comes to direct-acting antiviral medications. This included various drug approvals and access improvements for hepatitis C medications, including Daklinza, Epclusa, Sovaldi/velpatasvir, Viekira, and Zepatier. As we make our way deeper into 2017, this breakneck speed of new…

Understanding the Hepatitis C Testing Process

Many of your patients will likely need to be screened for hepatitis C, which means that they will have many questions during the testing process. This blog geared to patient education can help your patients understand each step of what can be a stressful time in their lives. Q: Do I really need to be…

HCV: Relapse or Reinfection?

Today’s hepatitis C medications offer extremely high cure rates. In fact, the few cases of a previously treated patient later testing positive for hepatitis C has some patients wondering “did I relapse or could I have been reinfected?” There are six different genotypes of the hepatitis C virus (as well as sub-genotypes). A first step…

Advances in Advanced Liver Disease

As 2016 comes to a close and we ring in 2017, it’s clear that liver health continues to be better understood than ever before. Consider the following two developments that were reported at the end of last year: first, a new way to assess liver disease progression and second, new drug combinations that work for…

Yo-Yo Weight Changes

The initial infection with hepatitis C, the time of acute infection when some people experience flu-like symptoms, can result in weight loss due to poor appetite. For the most part, however, those infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) experience no symptoms. This lack of symptoms is why hepatitis C is known as the silent…

Let’s Screen Everyone

Too many people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) simply don’t know their disease status. As many as one in four cases of HCV infection are undiagnosed, as I pointed out in a blog earlier this year (Finding the Missing Cases), even when current federal guidelines for hepatitis C screening are closely followed. This…

Coffee: Pour Another Cup, Guilt-Free

Coffee is not only a welcome way that 54% of Americans start their day, it also offers liver benefits to coffee fans. I have shared good news about coffee and liver health in several past blogs, including last year’s The Buzz of Caffeine in which coffee’s ability to protect against liver cancer was discussed. Now…

HCV Research Round-up

Hepatitis C treatment options continue to be a vibrant field full of exciting research, including the following: Genotype 3 of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has remained harder-to-treat among the six main genotypes. New research presented at the 2016 AASLD conference now offers promising news for treating genotype 3. According to results from the C-ISLE…

Breaking Down Restrictions

For many years, the standard plan for treating hepatitis C infections called for excluding active drug users. Experts at the 5th International Symposium on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users who recently met in Oslo, aim to revise what is considered standard care. New research was discussed at the symposium, specifically a series of studies by…

Finding the Missing Cases

As many as one in four cases of hepatitis C infection may miss the opportunity to be diagnosed – and this dire statistic is projected to happen even when current federal guidelines for hepatitis C screening are closely followed. As a result, experts now urge new guidelines of universal screening. Where did these “missed cases”…

HCV Blues

By some estimates, depression is experienced by up to one in every three people with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This is accounted for, in part, by the risk of depression that occurs in chronic, long-term diseases of all kinds. For hepatitis C specifically, depression remains a common yet underdiagnosed and undertreated complication. Understanding…

2016 World Hepatitis Day

The “Elimination” theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day – coming up on July 28, 2016 – highlights the vision of lessening the world burden of hepatitis. The organizers note that “Every action is an action towards elimination of viral hepatitis.” This theme is echoed by the first-ever establishment by the World Health Organization for…

Sticking Points

There are several ‘sticking points’ that get in the way of patients sticking with their prescribed treatment. In fact, medication nonadherence remains a key area of wasted health care resources. A recent article in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy points out that there are two types of medication nonadherence: Primary Nonadherence: when…

Introducing Epclusa

The treatment options for hepatitis C infections just gained a member to the club. There are six genotypes (numbered 1-6) of the hepatitis C virus. Previously, hepatitis C medications generally worked best for only one or a few genotypes. Consequently, identifying a patient’s genotype was an important part of the treatment process in order to…

Longevity After Hepatitis C Treatment

Before direct-acting antiviral medications came on the scene for treating hepatitis C, this disease was often a death sentence for patients who progressed to liver failure or liver cancer. However, over the past few years the newly available treatment options now mean that more than 90% of patients with hepatitis C can be cured of…