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Pharmacotherapy. 2005 Sep;25(9):1230-41.

Patient education and treatment strategies implemented at a pharmacist-managed hepatitis C virus clinic.

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  • Pharmacy Department, VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Long Beach, California 90822, USA. bonkolor@yahoo.com


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major public health concern. Approximately 4 million people in the United States have been infected with the virus, and up to 85% of them will develop chronic infection. Chronic HCV infection has often been associated with progression of hepatic fibrosis and, in some cases, cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease. The standard of care is combination therapy with pegylated interferon (peginterferon) alfa plus ribavirin. More than 50% of patients with HCV treated with combination therapy achieve a sustained viral response, defined as undetectable hepatitis C viral RNA 6 months after the end of therapy. Effective patient education and drug therapy management are critical in enabling patients to adhere to the treatment regimen, which is either 24 or 48 weeks long, depending on the virus strain. The drug regimen is associated with several possible adverse events as well as weekly subcutaneous administration (of peginterferon alfa). Frequent monitoring of patients and, often, adjustments in the dosage of one or both components of the therapy are necessary during the treatment course. Strategies used by clinical pharmacists at an HCV clinic are discussed that can facilitate a successful treatment outcome for patients with HCV treated with combination therapy, while enabling them to maintain a reasonable quality of life.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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