Hepatitis C, HIV-Led Treatments Shift Toward Primary Care Physicians and Nurse Practitioners

December 21st 2016

Primary care physicians and nurse practitioners are taking on more areas of co-infection out of necessity.

Treatment of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) that is led by primary care physicians (PCPs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) has equal safety and efficacy as care from experienced specialists, according to a new study.

A study conducted by investigators at the University of Maryland found that composite adherence to a 12-week treatment regimen was significantly higher in primary practices, with 50% adherence with nurse practitioner practices, 41% in PCP practices, and 19% in specialty practices, according toModern Medicine.

This shift of moving patients with HCV and HIV out of specialty care and back into primary care is being driven by the development of revolutionizing directing-acting antivirals, Dr Sarah M. Kattakuzhy, MD, toldMedical Economics.

Previously, treatment for HCV was interferon-based and highly toxic. Furthermore, this form of treatment was often outside the capacity of a typical primacy care practice, Dr Kattakuzhy said.

However, patients can now be cured in as little as 3 months taking 1 pill per day. This advancement can facilitate a decentralized shift toward primary care management for most HCV patients.

Additionally, the development of national consensus guidelines by the AASLD-IDSA have made HCV work-up and treatment easily accessible to all types of providers, according to Dr Kattakuzhy.

However, many payers are still faced with challenges surrounding HCV treatment, such as provider-based restrictions, which limit access to specialist providers. Through the work of Dr Kattakuzhy, findings have demonstrated that these policies are not evidence based and that they stand as significant impediments to the HCV care continuum.

More details from the study will be presented at the CROI Foundations conference in Seattle, WA, in February 2017.

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