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Achieving Sustained Virologic Response Reduces Hepatitis C Treatment Costs

February 19, 2014

This article was reported by Clinical Advisor.

The Clinical Advisor reported on a study of treatment costs for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infection. William L. Irving of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and colleagues determined use of healthcare services and related costs for 193 patients treated for a minimum of two months with pegylated interferon and ribavirin for HCV genotype-1 infection.

The researchers reviewed data from the National Health Service Payment by Results database and the British National Formulary. They followed up on patients with no detectable HCV levels in their blood (sustained virologic response [SVR]) for an average of 3.5 years and those who did not achieve SVR for 4.9 years. Patients with SVR did not progress to liver disease while 7.4 percent of non-SVR patients developed chronic hepatitis and later cirrhosis and 4.9 percent developed decompensated liver disease.

During follow-up, researchers reported a 13-fold cost increase among non-SVR patients and a 56-fold increase for those who were retreated. The researchers concluded that patient achievement of SVR had a significant effect on health service use and cost.

The full report, "The Cost of Treatment Failure: Resource Use and Costs Incurred by Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 1-Infected Patients Who Do or Do Not Achieve Sustained Virological Response to Therapy," was published in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis (2014; 21(3):208–215).

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