Characteristics associated with receipt of treatment among patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C virus

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Journal of viral hepatitis


Although current guidelines recommend that nearly all patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection receive treatment, a substantial proportion remain untreated. We conducted an administrative claims analysis to provide real-world data on treatment patterns and characteristics of treated versus untreated patients among individuals with HCV in the United States. Adults with an HCV diagnosis from 01 July 2016 through 30 September 2020 and continuous health plan enrolment for 12 months before and ≥1 month after the diagnosis date were identified in the Optum Research Database. Descriptive and multivariable analyses were conducted to evaluate the association between patient characteristics and the rate of treatment. Of 24,374 patients identified with HCV, only 30% initiated treatment during follow-up. Factors associated with increased rate of treatment included younger age versus age 75+ (hazard ratio [HR] 1.50-1.83 depending on age group), commercial versus Medicare insurance (HR 1.32), and diagnosis by a specialist versus a primary care physician (HR 2.56 and 2.62 for gastroenterology and infectious disease or hepatology, respectively) (p < .01 for all). Several baseline comorbidities were associated with decreased rate of treatment, including psychiatric disorders (HR 0.87), drug use disorders (HR 0.85) and cirrhosis (HR 0.42) (p < .01 for all). These findings highlight existing HCV treatment inequities, particularly among older patients and those with psychiatric disorders, substance use disorders or chronic comorbidities. Targeted efforts to increase treatment uptake in these populations could mitigate a considerable future burden of HCV-related morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs.

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ePub ahead of print