With training, primary care pharmacists can guide those with simpler cases of hepatitis C virus (HCV) through treatment, Healio reports.

Researchers in a Veterans Affairs (VA) health system in Long Beach, California, conducted a study in which 13 liver specialist pharmacists trained 13 primary care pharmacists in the treatment of hep C. A total of 138 VA patients with genotype 1 of the virus whose cases were generally uncomplicated were divided into two groups: 64 who were referred to the primary care pharmacists and 74 who were referred to the liver pharmacists. During treatment, the liver pharmacists and a hepatologist were available to answer any of the primary care pharmacists’ questions.

Results were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Washington, DC.

Fifty-two of those referred to the primary care pharmacists completed follow-up; only one did not achieve a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after completing therapy (SVR12, considered a cure), resulting in a cure rate of 98 percent for that group. All 62 of those in the liver specialist pharmacist group who completed follow-up were cured. The patients’ adherence to follow-up appointments and lab tests were similarly high in both groups.

The researchers concluded that health care systems can treat hep C in more patients with existing resources by training primary care pharmacists to treat appropriate cases.

To read the Healio article, click here.

To read the conference abstract, click here.