Preventable hep C treatment failures

Almost everyone whose hep C is treated with Harvoni is cured of the disease—but “almost” means not everyone. Although cure rates of 94-98 percent have been cited for the drug, that leaves 2 – 6 percent of people who have taken Harvoni distressed because it didn’t work for them. The good news is that treatment failure is often avoidable.

A study at Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York looked at 39 people whose hep C treatment with ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (Harvoni) had failed. The most common reason was that a person had missed seven or more doses of the drug. The study recommended clear pre-treatment counselling and an uninterrupted supply of Harvoni.

Doctors and clinics should do the counselling, and pharmacists and insurers should make sure that the drugs get to the patient without a break.

check-boxesThe patient has a role in this too. Brain fog is a familiar symptom for many people with hep, and it can make it easy to lose track of proper pill taking. I was worried about that during my treatment, so I drew up a chart with check boxes to tick off each time I took a pill. Other methods pop into mind such as putting Xs on a calendar or using a task-tracking app on your phone.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure–especially after the cure has been prescribed.

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