Hepatitis C treatment and monitoring: the impact of new therapies on Hepatitis C monitoring

HCV Think Big continuum chartNurse giving prescription to elderly woman

Combination antiviral therapy and direct-acting antiviral agents, or DAAs, can shorten Hepatitis C treatment duration but may still cause side effects. These approaches are quickly giving way to a newer combination regimen that frees patients from side effects. Still more new drugs are on the horizon.

Because the newer treatments vary by genotype, knowing the patient’s viral genotype is critical to effective therapy. Also, because drug-resistant Hepatitis C variants can exist before treatment or emerge during treatment, it’s important to test for drug resistance as well. View a presentation on new Hepatitis C developments here.

The increasing importance of specialists

With the introduction of new treatments featuring shorter treatment duration and fewer side effects, the role of the specialist will be paramount not only in determining best course of treatment, but in monitoring treatment and determining viral clearance. Bruce R. Bacon, MD, James F. King MD Endowed Chair in Gastroenterology and Professor of Internal Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, notes that with the availability of new therapies the future of Hep C management is looking brighter. “If we find the patients and treat them appropriately,” Dr. Bacon says, “we could essentially eradicate Hepatitis C.” Read more of Bacon’s perspective here.