February 26, 2014
1 min read

HCV prevalence, cost burden continue to rise

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The hepatitis C virus has a profound negative impact on patients’ quality of life, both in its clinical manifestations and its overall economic burden, according to recent study data.

A panel of hepatologists, experienced with evidence assessment, was convened to estimate how HCV affects patient outcomes. The researchers used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology.

To ensure consistency, panelists used five criteria for the articles they analyzed:

  • only PubMed searches were allowed
  • only peer-reviewed articles were accepted
  • studies only included human data
  • only English-language papers were accepted
  • papers dated back only to 2000, unless a pre-2000 article provided critical data

Among other facts uncovered by the panel, the prevalence of HCV cirrhosis in the United States has increased during the past 10 years and will continue to grow for the next 10 years; the duration of metabolic syndrome corresponds with HCV cirrhosis; and HCV is more common in men, those with HIV, and those who consume large amounts of alcohol. The panel also reported an association between HCV and hepatocellular carcinoma, with prevalence ranging from 20% to 90%; type 2 diabetes, and rheumatological diseases.

“The significant burden of HCV infection with regard to morbidity, mortality, resource utilization, and economic burden in the US should represent a call to action for liver and infectious disease specialists,” the researchers wrote. “There is strong evidence that sustained viral eradication of HCV can improve important outcomes such as mortality and quality of life.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.