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New Hope For Some Hepatitis C Patients

May 9, 2011

(Ivanhoe Newswire) –Screening for hepatitis C based on age instead of conventional risk factors may help improve detection rates and prevent liver disease. New research shows that new detection practices are improving screening and treatment for liver diseases.

According to new research from the Inova Fairfax Hospital, vaccination rates against viral hepatitis in patients with chronic liver disease and type 2 diabetes is relatively low. This is significant because these patients are at increased risk of severe liver injury once infected with hepatitis. Individuals with chronic liver disease are more prone to develop severe liver disease, but when they develop additional liver problems the injury can worsen and result in liver failure or even death.

“These studies suggest that innovative detection practices, as well as different methods of screening, can go a very long way in preventing liver-related diseases and can stave off premature death due to liver disease,” Adrian Di Bisceglie, M.D., chairman, department of internal medicine at Saint Louis University was quoted as saying.

Nearly four million Americans are infected with hepatitis C, and more than two million are in what investigators call the “Baby Boomer Plus” group (a category that includes individuals born between 1945 and 1970). Lisa McGarry, MPH, director of health economics and outcomes research at Innovus, part of Ingenix Life Sciences, in Medford, MA and her colleagues wanted to study this specific group because the current risk-based screening practices have had limited success. In fact, current estimates suggest less than three percent of infected individuals are screened each year.

For the study, researchers collected data from 662 patients with hepatitis C genotype 1, which is especially hard to treat. Researchers found that treating hepatitis C with a drug regimen that combines telaprevir to the standard therapy of pegylated interferon alfa-2a and ribavirin is more effective, both for patients who have not responded to usual therapy and those who relapsed after treatment.

Source: Digestive Disease Week, May 8, 2011




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