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Indexed/Abstracted in: CAB, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Online ISSN 1827-1642
Pockros P. J.
The human and monetary costs of chronic hepatitis C and the complications arising from this disease, including hepatocellular carcinoma and liver transplantation, emphasize the increased urgency to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients earlier in the course of their disease. The current standard of treatment for patients chronically infected with HCV is combination therapy with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. Among undertreated groups of patients are those with persistently normal alanine aminotransferase levels, those coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus and HCV, and nonresponders to previous treatment with standard interferon. This review summarizes the rationale for earlier treatment of chronic HCV infection, as well as evidence showing that patients who do not achieve a virologic response on treatment may derive benefit from treatment, including improved histologic characteristics and delayed progression of disease.