Current treatment status and barriers for patients with chronic HCV infection in mainland China: A national multicenter cross-sectional survey in 56 hospitals

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Abstract

Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a serious public health problem worldwide. China, as the country with the largest number of HCV infections in the world, plays a significant role in eliminating hepatitis C. Due to different financial situations and education background, hepatitis C patients take different actions for their disease treatment and management. Therefore, antiviral treatment status should be attached great importance to learn the medical demand of patients. A nationwide, multicenter survey was conducted from July 2015 to June 2016. Of 1798 inpatients and outpatients with chronic HCV from 56 hospitals participated in the survey. Each patient completed the questionnaire with questions about his/her antiviral therapy status, perception of treatment barriers, and expectations for future treatment. In total 1622 patients, including 1241 with chronic hepatitis C, 344 with cirrhosis, and 37 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, fulfilled data collection requirements and finally were included in analysis. Overall, up to 30.7% of the patients had not or currently does not intend to receive antiviral therapy. The main reason was expecting more potent and well-tolerance medication (31.5%), followed by the fear of interferon related side effects (27.5%). Multiple regression analysis showed that the patient's annual income, the severity of HCV, and comorbidity were independent predictors of not receiving antiviral therapy. The whole patients were expecting more potent and well tolerance medication available soon. In summary, Peg-IFN/RBV treatment regimen cannot meet the need of patients well, and safe and efficient direct-acting antivirals are urgently needed in mainland China.

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