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Mortality Rates High for People Successfully Treated for Hep C

All-cause mortality considerably higher across all disease severity groups than for the general population

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Mortality rates are high for people successfully treated for hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the era of interferon-free direct-acting antivirals, according to a study published online Aug. 2 in The BMJ.

Victoria Hamill, Ph.D., from Glasgow Caledonian University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a population-based cohort study involving 21,790 people from British Columbia (Canada), Scotland, and England who were successfully treated for HCV in the era of interferon-free antivirals (2014 to 2019) to quantify mortality rates. Participants were divided into three groups according to liver disease severity: those without cirrhosis; those with compensated cirrhosis; and those with end-stage liver disease.

During follow-up, 7 percent of participants died. The researchers found that the leading causes of death were drug-related mortality, liver failure, and liver cancer (24, 18, and 16 percent, respectively). Across all disease severity groups and settings, all-cause mortality was considerably higher than the rate for the general population (e.g., standardized mortality ratios, 2.96 and 13.61 for people without cirrhosis in British Columbia and for patients with end-stage liver disease in British Columbia, respectively). Older age, recent substance misuse, alcohol misuse, and comorbidities were associated with higher mortality rates in regression analyses.

“These findings highlight the importance of establishing robust follow-up pathways after successful HCV treatment as we move towards HCV elimination,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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