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New recommendations for Hepatitis C treatment

Consensus statement for the treatment of Hepatitis C - Featured Image

New recommendations have been released for the management of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in a consensus statement.

The statement was drawn up by Gastroenterological Society of Australia, the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases, the Australasian Hepatology Association, the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine, Hepatitis Australia and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

A summary, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, says that the recommendations for Hepatitis C treatment were drawn up in the wake of the new direct-acting antiviral therapies that were added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme earlier this month.

Related: 5 things you need to know about the new Hepatitis C medicines on the PBS

“The introduction of DAA therapies for HCV that are highly effective and well tolerated is a major medical advance,” said Professor Alexander Thompson, director of gastroenterology at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.

“All Australians living with HCV should now be considered for antiviral therapy.”

Recommendations in the consensus statement include:

  • All individuals with a risk factor for HCV infection should be tested.
  • Annual HCV serological testing is recommended for seronegative individuals with risk factors for HCV transmission.
  • People with confirmed HCV infection should be tested for HCV genotype (Gt).
  • All concomitant medications should be reviewed before starting treatment, using the University of Liverpool’s Hepatitis Drug Interactions website.
  • The use of any DAA regimen during pregnancy is not recommended.
  • People who are not cured by a first-line interferon-free treatment regimen should be referred to a specialist centre.
  • All people with decompensated liver disease, extra-hepatic manifestations of HCV, HCV–HIV or HCV–HBV co-infection, renal impairment or acute HCV infection, as well as people who have had a liver transplant should be referred for management by a specialist who is experienced in the relevant areas.
  • All people living with HCV infection should have a liver fibrosis assessment before treatment to evaluate for the presence of cirrhosis.
  • People with no cirrhosis can be treated by general practitioners working in consultation with specialists.

Read the full recommendations on the Gastroenterological Society of Australia’s website.

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