Publish Date: Monday, January 22, 2018
HCV-related kidney disease, depression, skin disorders, lymphoma and other conditions can seriously impact a patient, even without severe damage to the liver, studies have shown. There’s also growing evidence as to how HCV intersects with other disease states, Tina Broder, MSW, MPH, Program Director of NVHR, told MD Magazine.
“Our hope in highlighting the extrahepatic manifestations of HCV is to show that curing HCV patients may help improve health conditions beyond liver function,” Broder said.
To publicize that point, NVHR is creating a campaign aimed at both clinicians and patients that emphasizes the importance of managing the virus as a system-wide condition. The group is distributing informational “fact sheets” produced from a review of scientific research and input from staff and a clinical consultant with expertise in HCV. The aim is to help make a business case for treating patients regardless of the severity of their liver disease and to broaden treatment access, Broder said.
As many as 3.9 million people in the US have chronic HCV, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates. Of every 100 individuals infected with the virus, 75 to 85 of them will develop chronic HCV. Five to 20 of these patients will progress to cirrhosis in 20 to 30 years. As many as 5 will die from cirrhosis or liver cancer, the CDC estimates.
Hepatitis C-related effects on parts of the body besides the liver can be an early indicator of HCV infection, NVHR says. And the virus may be driving other chronic conditions that primary care providers must spend their time managing.
“The evidence showing that HCV infection is a risk factor for other health conditions continues to grow,” Broder said. “Concurrently, research is beginning to show that in the era of direct acting antivirals (DAAs), early HCV treatment can cure and possibly prevent the development of extrahepatic manifestations associated with HCV.”
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This article was originally published by MD Magazine.