Public Release: 

Delaying treatment for hepatitis C puts patients' lives at risk

Analyses from the Veterans Administration healthcare system in the USA highlights dangers of delaying treatment to save costs

European Association for the Study of the Liver

April 23, 2015, Vienna, Austria: Data revealed today at The International Liver Congress™ 2015 highlights the impact of delaying treatment for the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Researchers found that treatment delays have a serious detrimental effect on treatment efficacy, increasing the risk of morbidity and mortality among patients.

The study was conducted using retrospective patient data from the Veterans Administration in the USA to estimate the impact on risk of morbidity and death depending on whether treatment was initiated before or after a patient's FIB4 levels became elevated. The FIB4 index is a simple formula used to predict liver damage (fibrosis) based on standard biochemical values and age.

Researchers found that delaying treatment until after a patient's FIB4 level exceeds 3.25 has a clear detrimental effect on treatment effectiveness. Delaying therapy until after the patient's FIB4 level exceeds 1.45 or 1.00 has a smaller detrimental effect on treatment effectiveness.

The study demonstrates that delaying HCV treatment in an attempt to save costs has a serious adverse impact on patients, with the most serious effect being the speeding up of time to death. Once HCV diagnosis has been confirmed the most suitable treatment should be initiated as soon as feasible balancing budgetary cash-flow issues against adverse impacts on patients.

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About The International Liver Congress™

This annual congress is the biggest event in the EASL calendar, attracting scientific and medical experts from around the world to learn about the latest in liver research. Specialists share research studies and findings, and discuss the hottest topics related to liver disease. This year, the congress is expected to attract approximately 10,000 delegates from all corners of the globe. 2015 is a very special year for EASL and the hepatology community as they will celebrate the 50th annual meeting. The International Liver Congress™ takes place from April 22-26, 2015, Vienna, Austria.

About EASL

Since EASL's foundation in 1966, this not-for-profit organisation has grown to over 4,000 members from more than 100 countries around the world. EASL is the leading liver association in Europe, it attracts the foremost hepatology experts and has an impressive track record in promoting research in liver disease, supporting wider education and promoting changes in European liver policy.

Contact

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