Chronic Hepatitis C in the Aged: Much Ado About Nothing or Nothing to Do?
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- Malnick, S., Maor, Y., Melzer, E. et al. Drugs Aging (2014) 31: 339. doi:10.1007/s40266-014-0170-8
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Hepatitis C is a common infection worldwide. It is a major cause of cirrhosis and its complications, including hepatocellular carcinoma and liver transplantation. Treatment of hepatitis C has dramatically improved since its discovery. Current treatment includes pegylated interferon and ribavirin, and the addition of the protease inhibitors telaprevir, boceprevir, or simeprevir, or the polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir. The rate of sustained viral response, considered a cure, now approaches 80 %. These treatments are complex, with multiple morbidities and drug interactions. The majority of patients with chronic hepatitis C are from the birth cohort of the ‘baby boomer’ years (1945–1965) with the oldest already 68 years old. In spite of this, most hepatitis C patients in clinical trials have been much younger and this is still the case in the ongoing studies. Thus, the group of patients most likely to require treatment in the future will have decisions made with a relative lack of evidence-based medicine. It is the purpose of this article to review the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and treatment of hepatitis C with the data available in the aged population.