New Hepatitis C Treatment Guidelines
Updates to an essential treatment resource for Hepatitis C could provide opportunities for specialty pharmacists to improve clinical results.
PLAINSBORO, NJ (Feb. 24, 2010)—The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) recently issued new treatment guidelines that provide key insights on proper management of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). In response to these updates, the February 2010 issue of Pharmacy Times has published a pharmacy-focused debriefing of the AASLD recommendations.
HCV is the leading cause of liver disease and transplants in the United States, where it infects approximately 17,000 people a year. Though no cure exists, advances in medication therapy for the treatment of HCV have enabled many patients to live relatively symptom-free lives.
Because commonly prescribed medications for the infection cause significant side effects and require complex self-dosing regimens, extra support from health care providers is often needed to help patients successfully complete a course of treatment.
This provides an ideal opportunity for pharmacists to work directly with patients to guide adherence throughout the duration of therapy. “Quite often,” writes Allinson, “the gastrointestinal practice is busy and eager to collaborate with and provide direct referrals to a pharmacist who is interested in providing therapy management.”
For pharmacists interested in developing an HCV specialty practice, targeted understanding of the AASLD guidelines is crucial: “It is through a thorough understanding of the disease, its treatment, and the impact on patients and their families that the pharmacist will develop an optimal specialty therapy management program.” ■
Pharmacy Times is a clinically-based, monthly journal providing practical information pharmacists can use in their everyday practice. Each issue contains articles and features covering medication errors, drug interactions, patient education, pharmacy technology, disease state management, patient counseling, product news, pharmacy law, and specialty pharmacy. Pharmacy Times is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of free continuing pharmacy education.
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