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NICE recommends three new treatments for hepatitis C in draft guidance
29 July 2015 • Author: Victoria White
The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidance recommending three different treatment options for some people with hepatitis C.
For the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, the NICE drafts recommend:
- Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Daklinza (Daclatasvir)
- Gilead’s Harvoni (Ledipasvir-sofosbuvir)
- Abbvie’s Viekirax with or without Exviera (Ombitasvir-paritaprevir-ritonavir with or without dasabuvir)
Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver. It is spread by contact with infected blood, for instance by using contaminated needles for injecting drugs or sharing razors or toothbrushes. The virus can cause inflammation of, and damage to the liver, preventing it from working properly.
About a third of people infected with the hepatitis C virus will eventually develop liver cirrhosis, where normal liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue. A small number of people with chronic hepatitis C and cirrhosis also go on to develop liver cancer.
Hepatitis C a “major public health challenge”
Professor Carole Longson, Director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said, “Hepatitis C is a major public health challenge. It is difficult to diagnose, with estimates suggesting around 50% of people with the condition in England remain undiagnosed. But even when people are diagnosed, the long duration and potentially unpleasant side-effects of current interferon-based treatments can discourage people with the disease from completing the full course, or even from seeking treatment in the first place.
“We are very pleased to recommend not only one, but three new treatment options for chronic hepatitis C. This is good news, not just for people with chronic hepatitis C, but also because having more effective treatments for the condition could reduce the spread of the virus.”
It is recommended that access to the drugs used to treat hepatitis C is managed through the specialised commissioning programme put in place by NHS England with prescribing decisions made by multidisciplinary teams/centres to ensure that treatment is prioritised for patients with the highest unmet clinical need.
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