Hep C: The Post Interferon World is Five Scoops of Good News
- Increased number of patients screened and identified
- Increased options for those who failed previous therapies
- Improved patient compliance
- Possibilities of patient-guided treatment
- Decreased need for liver transplantation
- I quit writing my blog when I saw the first ad for Hepatitis C treatment on television. The representative people were not parrot heads or crack heads. They were typical ad people like Crestor or Nexium. These ads will bring people in for testing and treatment. The early treatment decreases transplantation demands. But there is still a lot of Hepatitis C news, so I am back.
A friend of mine started round four of treatment three days ago and she is scared. Because of Interferon and depression, she could not complete previous treatments. No pledge from me or her physician made a dent in her fear but time will show her. Her new protocol doesn’t call for Interferon, and she is on preventive anti-depression medication. The three drug cocktail for her is one of many not available six months ago, a bygone era.
I recall Fridays during treatment, Interferon injection days. Bathing and grooming started on Wednesdays. I could schedule most work meetings (via telephone) for Thursday and Friday. There is much compliance built around Interferon day. For me, there came the day I could not work and Friday no longer mattered. Unfortunately leaving work isn’t always an available solution. I lost my career when I returned and I was still sick from drugs. Luckily I retired with benefits. When I went through treatment # 2, I wasn’t working and could get all the rest required. In the post Interferon world of (mostly) no Interferon and ribavirin this may not be an issue, thus better patient compliance, and cure.
And now about patient-guided therapy and no you do not get to select from a menu. For those of you following genotyping using IL2b. Researchers predict (I love that phrase) which treatments will work best in your body. That will partially determine the treatment drugs for you, thus ruling out waste-of-time and money treatments.
Be sure to visit my friends at http://www.hepatitiscnews.com They have great usable info and practical application. They carry my blog too.
Kentaro Matsuura, Tsunamasa Watanabe, Yasuhito Tanaka
J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;29(2):241-249.