About three years ago it was estimated that the number of people infected in the world with the hepatitis C virus was 150 million. Currently, it is considered it has diminished significantly and there are only 71 million (WHO, July 2018). This is due to the commercialization of the new drugs for treatment of hepatitis C that are tremendously effective. Thus, with the new treatments, a complete response (normalization of transaminases and hepatitis C virus RNA negativization) is achieved in 95% of patients as demonstrated in clinical trials of drug development.
However, results obtained in clinical trials often do not coincide with those observed in the daily clinical practice. In this regard, a study was published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Science including 261 patients infected with the genotype 1 of hepatitis C virus, who received treatment with the new drugs in “real-world clinical practice”. It was shown that only 74% of the patients responded, which is significantly lower than the 95% response rate obtained in the trials. This was due to the fact that around 22% of the treated patients discontinued therapy prematurely or did not return to consultation in order to evaluate the efficacy of the therapy. It is important to note that these failures should not occur for several reasons:
- Treatment tolerance is excellent and side effects are rare (headache, asthenia, etc …).
- Treatment duration is only 8 to 12 weeks.
In summary, in the treatment of hepatitis C with the new drugs, it is essential that the patient take the medication without stopping any day and during the time prescribed by the doctor. This is very important and in our group we insist exhaustively on these recommendations.