Promising results in clinical trials of hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapies are tempered by the fact that many barriers stand in the way of successfully treating and curing the disease outside of controlled research settings and in real world clinical practices, a new study has found. A largely Texas-based consortium of researchers conducted a literature review, finding 25 studies with data about patient experience with hep C antiviral treatment independent of clinical trials. They published their paper in General Hospital Psychiatry.

The researchers found that clinicians only considered 19 percent of hep C patients and 16 percent of coinfected patients eligible for treatment. Just 13 and 11 percent of hep C patients, respectively, actually completed treatment, while a respective 3 and 6 percent achieved a sustained virologic response (SVR, considered a cure).

The main barriers to treatment were psychiatric disorders, substance use, medical ineligibilities such as severe anemia and thrombocytopenia (low red blood cells), or liver disease that was either too advanced or not advanced enough to warrant treatment.

The researchers wrote, “Only by systematically observing and addressing potentially solvable medical and psychological barriers to treatment will more patients be enrolled in and complete HCV therapy.”

To read the study abstract, click here.