New Medicines for the Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C Infection


One of the most significant breakthroughs of recent years has been the development of second-generation direct-acting antivirals for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. The new treatment has limited complications and improved efficacy. The drugs represent a new paradigm of care for patients suffering from this prevalent and potentially fatal disease. With the new treatment comes the hope that chronic HCV can be all but removed from the population. The availability of these treatments on the PBS is helping to overcome barriers of cost, and ensures that every Australian resident suffering from the disease can gain access to potentially lifesaving therapies.

Hepatitis C effects a disproportionate number of Aboriginal people in Australia and the rate of Hepatitis C is between 2 and 10 times that of non-Aboriginal people, depending on location. The new treatments will represent a significant and long term improvement in the quality of life of those with hepatitis C.

Given the significance of this treatment and the impact it is likely to have on the millions of people word wide with chronic hepatitis C, this module is designed for all those working in health care. It is not limited to those working in infectious diseases or primary health care, although it is particularly useful to those people. Everyone in health care will benefit from understanding this break though in treatment.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Know the global and Australian prevalence of chronic hepatitis C.
  • Know the new drugs available to treat chronic hepatitis C.
  • Understand the mechanism of action of second-generation direct-acting antivirals.
  • Understand the main side effects and contraindications of the medications.
  • Understand the benefits of the second-generation direct-acting antivirals when compared with interferon treatment.

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