About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Hepatitis C Screening and Drug Therapy Could Make It a Rare Disease

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on August 5, 2014 at 11:23 AM
Font : A-A+

 Hepatitis C Screening and Drug Therapy Could Make It a Rare Disease

Highly effective and improved drug therapies along with the newly implemented screening guidelines, could make hepatitis C a rare disease in the United States by 2036, suggest the results of a predictive model developed at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The results of the analysis, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and performed with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, are published in the Aug. 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Advertisement

A "rare" disease is one that affects at most one in every 1,500 people. Approximately one in every 100 people in the U.S. currently has chronic hepatitis C, a viral infection that compromises liver function.

"Making hepatitis C a rare disease would be a tremendous, life-saving accomplishment," said lead author Mina Kabiri, M.S., a doctoral student in Pitt Public Health's Department of Health Policy and Management. "However, to do this, we will need improved access to care and increased treatment capacity, primarily in the form of primary care physicians who can manage the care of infected people identified through increased screening."
Advertisement

In the U.S., hepatitis C is the leading cause of chronic liver disease and the leading reason for liver transplantation. At 15,100 deaths annually, hepatitis C surpassed the annual number of deaths from HIV in 2007. The economic burden associated with chronic infection is estimated at $6.5 billion a year.

"This is, indeed, a very interesting time for hepatitis C patients and providers," said senior author Jagpreet Chhatwal, Ph.D., now of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, who performed most of the research while at Pitt Public Health. "Several changes have happened in the last two years, including screening policy updates and availability of highly effective therapies."

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that anyone born between 1945 and 1965 — encompassing about 81 percent of chronically infected people — receive a one-time screening for hepatitis C. Hepatitis C often is asymptomatic, meaning that infected people do not know they have it until it is detected through a blood screening.

In early 2014, hepatitis C drug regimens that could be taken orally were introduced to the market, allowing primary care physicians and infectious disease specialists to take on the role of treating hepatitis C patients. The drugs have been shown to be highly effective in making the virus almost undetectable in the blood of patients previously found positive for hepatitis C.

The research team created a highly detailed computer model of the natural history and progression of hepatitis C, both with and without treatment. The model predicts the number of hepatitis C infections in the U.S. at any given time from 2001 to 2050, under multiple potential scenarios describing future treatment, while taking into consideration infection status awareness, stage of disease, treatment history and continued drug development, based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and published clinical studies.

To validate the prediction, the researchers ran the model for the years 2003 to 2010 and predicted 2.7 million cases of hepatitis C, which equaled the actual number of cases reported by NHANES.

The research team then considered what would happen if the guidelines were increased to include a one-time universal screening for hepatitis C among all U.S. citizens, not just baby boomers.

"In that scenario, nearly 1 million cases of hepatitis C would be identified in the next 10 years," said Ms. Kabiri. "And that translates into making hepatitis C a rare disease by 2026, a decade earlier than we'd predicted with the current screening guidelines."

The researchers note that such a measure would bring increased costs. The oral therapy regimen costs as much as $1,000 per day.

The model estimated that universal screening coupled with the new drug therapies would reduce liver-related deaths by 161,500 and liver transplants by 13,900 from 2014 to 2050.

"Though impactful, the new screening guidelines do not identity the large number of hepatitis C patients who would progress to advanced disease stages without treatment and could die," said Dr. Chhatwal. "More aggressive screening recommendations are essential in further reducing the burden, preventing liver-related deaths and eventually eradicating hepatitis C."

Future research will be needed to determine how the reduction in deaths and transplants offsets the increased costs of screening and drug therapy.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
First-Ever Successful Pig-To-Human Kidney Transplantation
World Osteoporosis Day 2021 -
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Drug Toxicity Hepatitis A Hepatitis B Vasculitis Reiki and Pranic Healing Signature Drug Toxicity Silent Killer Diseases Liver Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Aplastic Anemia 

Recommended Reading
Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a contagious viral disease affecting the liver that is caused by the hepatitis C ......
Low-Fat or Low-Calorie Diet Improves Hepatitis C
A diet plan that includes a low-fat diet or a low-calorie diet along with adequate exercise or ......
Must Know Top Ten Facts about Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
Hepatitis B is caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is generally transmitted through infected ....
Hardest-To-Treat Hepatitis C Now Curable With New Oral Drug Regimens
Shorter and more effective treatment options for hepatitis C with two new pill-only antiviral drug ....
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Find out more about the degenerative disease- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis....
Aplastic Anemia
Aplastic anemia (AA) is a term that refers to a condition where the body fails to produce enough blo...
Drug Toxicity
Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a d...
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is the most benign of the hepatitis viruses and usually has no long term side effects. H...
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is inflammation of the liver due to infection with the hepatitis B virus....
Vasculitis
Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels of the body that can affect people of all ages; i...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use