EASL revises best practices for hepatitis C virus

The European Association for the Study of the Liver published on Monday its revised Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of hepatitis C virus infection.

Approximately 160 million people are infected with HCV.

"As our understanding of HCV increases and therapies evolve, more complex treatment strategies are necessary to achieve the primary goal of curing the infection," Professor David Mutimer, a hepatologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said.

The infection is widespread in the European Union, with higher rates of infection in the south and east regions. One in five patients are at risk of developing cirrhosis or liver cancer, making HCV a critical area of study for hepatologists.

The new guidelines include best practices for treating HCV, including standard of care, diagnosis, indications for treatment, treatment of special groups and treatment strategies and monitoring.

"With HCV spread among [people who inject drugs] now accounting for the vast majority of incident cases in developed countries, and with modeling studies suggesting that treatment for PWID could reduce transmission, it is critical that physicians review and adopt these guidelines when managing this important group of patients," Mutimer said.

The new guidelines replace the previous version from 2011.

"EASL is dedicated to promoting hepatology research and education to improve the worldwide treatment of liver disease," EASL Secretary General Professor Markus Peck-Radosavljevic said. "As treatment for hepatitis C continues to progress rapidly with the development and approval of new therapies, it's vital to ensure that our series of Clinical Practice Guidelines reflect best practice to drive better clinical outcomes."