“Severe liver disease is not necessarily an inevitable outcome in the
absence of treatment, and because existing HCV therapies have
well-documented adverse effects,
clinicians and older patients face a difficult decision as to whether
they should wait for future regimens that are more tolerable.”
A sustained virologic response to existing hepatitis C treatments — namely, pegylated interferon and ribavirin combined with a protease inhibitor — is less likely to benefit older patients with less advanced liver fibrosis, according to recent data. In light of these findings, older patients may opt to wait for future regimens with fewer adverse effects.
“The question of what value a [sustained virologic response], in itself, imparts on the patient is often left unstated,” researchers wrote in the Journal of Hepatology.” Given that many treatment candidates are without symptoms of their infection, patients must be well-informed regarding what, by way of prognosis improvement, [sustained virologic response] can offer. Yet, to date, this issue has received little attention despite being critical to informed consent.”