With the drug pipeline for hepatitis C bursting, some pharmacists are finding it difficult to stay on top of treatment recommendations.
“Pharmacists have played a big role in hepatitis C treatment, and that will only continue to grow as the new meds come out, with all of their unique drug interactions and strict adherence requirements,” said Dr. Spooner, who is also a clinical pharmacy specialist in infectious diseases at St. Vincent Hospital, also inWorcester.
She pointed out that there has been little change in the treatment of hepatitisB, with the last guidelines published in 2009.
The treatment of hepatitis C, on the other hand, has undergone a para digmshift, caused by a flood of new direct-acting antivirals.
In July alone, the FDA approved two treatments for hepatitis C. Ombitasvir-paritaprevir-ritonavir was approved for use in combination with ribavirin for the treatment of hepatitis C virus genotype 4 infections.
In 2014, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, InfectiousDiseases Society of America and International Antiviral Society teamed up to create online hepatitis C treatment guidance.
When taken correctly, the new DAAs are very effective, with some patient shaving undetectable viral loads two weeks into treatment.
Patients who have a history of treatment with interferon, which causes severe side effects, should be assured that the new DAAs are a whole new ballgame.
“The new medications are tolerated really well, and the drugs are so potent that people are feeling a real rebound in their energy during treatment,” Dr. Spoonersaid.
“Typically, if a patient has F0, F1 or F2 disease on their FibroSure test[LabCorp], insurance companies are often not approving treatment, and they will ask that the patient wait-wait for the liver disease to get worse or the prices to come down,” Dr. Spooner said.