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Swiss Med Wkly. 2010;140(9-10):146-52. doi: smw-12928.

Impact of international consensus guidelines on antiviral therapy of chronic hepatitis C patients in Switzerland.

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Department of Clinical Pathology, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland.



To assess the impact of international consensus conference guidelines on the attitude of Swiss specialists when facing the decision to treat chronic hepatitis C patients.


Questionnaires focusing on the personal situation and treatment decisions were mailed to 165 patients who were newly diagnosed with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and enrolled into the Swiss Hepatitis C Cohort Study during the years 2002-2004.


Survey respondents (n = 86, 52.1%) were comparable to non-respondents with respect to severity of liver disease, history of substance abuse and psychiatric co-morbidities. Seventy percent of survey respondents reported having been offered antiviral treatment. Patients deferred from treatment had less advanced liver fibrosis, were more frequently infected with HCV genotypes 1 or 4 and presented more often with a history of depression. There were no differences regarding age, socio-economic background, alcohol abuse, intravenous drug abuse or methadone treatment when compared with patients to whom treatment was proposed. Ninety percent of eligible patients agreed to undergo treatment. Overall, 54.6% of respondents and 78.3% of those considered eligible had actually received antiviral therapy by 2007. Ninety-five percent of patients reported high satisfaction with their own hepatitis C management.


Consistent with latest international consensus guidelines, patients enrolled in the Swiss Hepatitis C Cohort with a history of substance abuse were not withheld antiviral treatment. A multidisciplinary approach is warranted to provide antiviral treatment to patients suffering from depression.

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