The Australasian hepatology association consensus guidelines for the provision of adherence support to patients with hepatitis C on direct acting antivirals

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Journal Article
Patient Preference and Adherence, 2016, 10 pp. 2479 - 2489
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© 2016 Richmond et al. Background: Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus primarily spread through sharing of drug-injecting equipment. Approximately 150 million people worldwide and 230,000 Australians are living with chronic hepatitis C infection. In March 2016, the Australian government began subsidizing direct acting antivirals (DAAs) for the treatment of hepatitis C, which are highly effective (95% cure rate) and have few side effects. However, there is limited evidence to inform the provision of adherence support to people with hepatitis C on DAAs including the level of medication adherence required to achieve a cure. Methodology: In February 2016, a steering committee comprising four authors convened an expert panel consisting of six hepatology nurses, a hepatologist, a pharmacist, a consumer with hepatitis C and treatment experience, and a consumer advocate. The expert panel focused on the following criteria: barriers and enablers to DAA adherence; assessment and monitoring of DAA adherence; components of a patient-centered approach to DAA adherence; patients that may require additional adherence support; and interventions to support DAA adherence. The resultant guidelines underwent three rounds of consultation with the expert panel, Australasian Hepatology Association (AHA) members (n=12), and key stakeholders (n=7) in June 2016. Feedback was considered by the steering committee and incorporated if consensus was achieved. Results: Twenty-four guidelines emerged from the evidence synthesis and expert panel discussion. The guidelines focus on the pretreatment assessment and education, assessment of treatment readiness, and monitoring of medication adherence. The guidelines are embedded in a patient-centered approach which highlights that all patients are at risk of nonadherence. The guidelines recommend implementing interventions focused on identifying patients’ memory triggers and hooks; use of nonconfrontational and nonjudgmental language by health professionals; and objectively monitoring adherence. Conclusion: These are the first guidelines to support patients and health professionals in the delivery of clinical care by identifying practical adherence support interventions for patients taking DAAs.
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