Jul 13th 2016
Hep C treatment success nears 100%
Chronic Hepatitis C is one of the toughest health challenges facing the UK. Across the country, more than 200,000 people are infected with the virus and –until recently – the treatment success rate was just 57%. Now, thanks to a multi-disciplinary approach by the Gastroenterology and Pharmacy teams at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (SWBH), patients have access to a new family of drugs – Direct Acting Antivirals, or DAAs – and success rates are approaching 100%.
Consultant Gastroenterologist Saket Singhal, project leader, works closely with Lead HIV/GUM Pharmacist Amardeep Singh and Liver Specialist Nurse, Clare Smith.
Saket said: “We’ve been administering DAAs since SWBH joined the regional Operational Development Network in July 2015.
“The major benefits for patients are shorter treatment times, no need to take a course of injections and a reduction in the risks of side effects, liver damage and of developing liver failure or liver cancer in the future.
“With previous treatments based on injections and tablets, the success rate was only 57% and the side effects could be severe – including fevers, tiredness, vomiting and greater risk of infections. Patients also needed frequent blood monitoring and they could be receiving treatment for between six and twelve months.
“With DAAs, there’s a much lower incidence of side effects and the treatment lasts for only eight to twelve weeks.
“We’ve successfully treated 30 patients over the last 12 months and many more patients are waiting to start these new treatments.
“Overall, we estimate that DAA treatment will benefit more than 5,000 patients in the area we serve.”
Patient Corneilu Raportour (31), who successfully completed his treatment in June, said: “I caught this virus from doing intravenous drug use in 2007, which was a decision that I deeply regretted. As I met all the requirements, I was accepted to undertake this new treatment in April this year. I only had a tablet once a day for eight weeks and now I’m clear of the virus. My nurse told me that I will not develop liver disease. I am extremely happy with this result and want to thank the staff for the excellent care that they gave me.”
Issued by SWBH NHS Trust Communications Department. Tel: 0121 507 5303.
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