New interferon-free treatments that cure hepatitis C in over 90% of patients were listed on the PBS on 1 March 2016. These therapies can be prescribed by GPs in consultation with a gastroenterologist, hepatologist or infectious diseases physician and will dramatically change the landscape of hepatitis C treatment in Australia.
In Australia, around 230,000 people are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The primary aim of HCV therapy is cure, which is the achievement of a sustained virological response (SVR). Attaining an SVR decreases the risk of progression to cirrhosis, development of hepatocellular carcinoma and liver failure, and liver-related and overall mortality, as well as improving health-related quality of life. Interferon-based HCV treatment has been limited by significant toxicity, modest efficacy and poor treatment uptake. However, oral direct-acting antiviral (DAA) regimens are expected to deliver highly effective and safe therapeutic options across all HCV genotypes and stages of liver disease.
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