Treatment Decisions for HCV: What Factors Weigh In for Patients?

Side effects, familial support and liver condition among factors that influence hepatitis C treatment decisions.

Side effects, familial support and liver condition among factors that influence hepatitis C treatment decisions.

In the constantly changing landscape of hepatology, it is difficult for some patients to make decisions regarding treatment for their chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection.

A recent study evaluated the factors that go into patient decisions regarding treatment and found that patients consider a number of different attributes prior to making a decision on whether or not to go through with treatment.

The study included 29 patients with CHC infection treated at VHA facilities and asked them questions regarding their disease and what factors they reflected upon when considering treatment.

Patients were categorized into 3 groups: group 1 consisted of patients who were in the process of considering treatment, group 2 included patients who recently denied treatment, and group 3 included patients who began treatment within 15 weeks of the study’s commencement.

During the study duration, interferon treatment was still widely in use, however, newer curative treatments were in the pipeline for development.

Researchers found that patients considered a number of factors before going through with treatment, including physical side effects (83%), treatment efficacy (79%), new drugs in development (55%), psychological side effects (55%), and condition of the liver (52%).

Additionally, personal life circumstance attributes such as familial support and the burden of financial responsibilities also influenced treatment decisions among the patients in the study.

The study showed that on average, patients considered approximately 8 different factors before making a treatment decision and these factors were interrelated in complex ways. The authors note that understanding the patient decision-making process is crucial to delivering the best patient-specific care as well as information about their disease.

“As new treatments become available, these findings can guide clinicians to provide patient-centered decisional support to address key attribute that influence patients, and contribute to shared decision-making aids,” the authors conclude.