A recent large-scale study confirms that treating chronic hepatitis C patients with direct-acting antivirals (DAA) leads to improved outcomes and better long-term survival.
The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, used data from a large database of over 60 million people across the US, and included over 245,000 adults with chronic hepatitis C.
The study compared two groups of patients: those who were treated with DAAs and those who were not. The results showed that the treated group had a significantly lower chance of developing serious liver problems, including hepatocellular carcinoma, as well as other health issues less commonly thought of as being directly linked to hepatitis C, like diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and non-hepatic cancer.
The study also found that the treated group had a lower rate of death. The all-cause mortality rate per 1,000 person-years was 36.5 in the DAA-treated group compared with 64.7 in the untreated group (P<0.001).
“Because HCV [hepatitis C virus] treatment with a DAA regimen is well tolerated for nearly all patients, we believe these findings provide further support for universal HCV treatment coverage for all patients affected by HCV,” the study’s author’s wrote.
The study findings “highlight a substantial need to provide DAA therapy to all patients with HCV, regardless of disease stage or financial status,” they added.
The researchers believe that these results support the idea that all patients with hepatitis C should receive DAA treatment, regardless of their financial situation or how far the disease has progressed, something which is a central part of Australia’s National Hepatitis C Strategy.