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The Australasian Hepatology Association has released guidelines for health professionals on helping people adhere to their hepatitis C treatment.

The development of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatments has revolutionised the treatment of hepatitis C in Australia. DAAs are effective and, when patients follow the medication regime, can cure more than 90% of those who take the treatment. But at the moment there are limited resources to inform and guide health professionals as they try to provide adherence support to those undergoing DAA treatment.

Medication adherence refers to the way an individual takes a medication, including the use of the correct medication, the correct dose and time, duration and timely refilling of repeat prescriptions.

In February this year, as the first wave of DAAs were about to be made available under Medicare, the Australasian Hepatology Association (AHA) convened an expert panel to look at this problem.

This panel—six hepatology nurses, a hepatologist, a pharmacist, a consumer with experience of both hep C and DAAs, and a representative from peak body Hepatitis Australia—discussed a number of significant issues, including things that either help or get in the way of people adhering to the DAA treatment regime, interventions which might improve adherence, and special populations which might require extra support. 

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