New treatments for hepatitis C virus (HCV) may be highly effective but are very expensive that may compel doctors and patients to consider delaying treatment. However, a new study shows that immediate treatment of HCV-infected patients with minimal or no scarring can be cost-effective, especially when lower treatment costs are assumed.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease spread through infected blood; it can lead to issues like cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. The Center for Disease Control, USA, has estimated that there are 3.2 million people in the US suffering from chronic hepatitis C many of whom may not even know they are infected. Several medications can help treat the disease.
"The devastating effects of hepatitis C continue to threaten the health of many Americans, with baby boomers at particular risk. This analysis of treatment available for hepatitis C describes specific scenarios when immediate or earlier treatment can be both cost-effective and increase quality of life," said Dr. John Ward, co-author of the Hepatology study and director of CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis. This study was published online March 16 in Hepatology.