Community Physician Network offers new treatment to cure patients with hepatitis C; Once-a-day pill can reduce treatment period, cost for some patients
Indianapolis, IN---Community Physician Network is now offering the first all-oral regimen to treat hepatitis C. Winning FDA approval on October 10, Harvoni has the potential to cure patients of hepatitis C in as few as eight weeks.
“In just the past year, there have been remarkable advances in how we are able to treat hepatitis C,” said Steven Norris, MD, infectious disease physician. “With these new medications, treatment is far more tolerable. Side effects are significantly reduced, as is the amount of time involved in treatment. Most importantly, cure rates have increased dramatically to over 90 percent.”
Harvoni is a pill-a-day regimen that combines two medications: sofosbuvir and ledipsvir, which attack the hepatitis C virus in different ways. It is the first therapy available that does not need to be complemented with a weekly injection of interferon, thereby reducing some of the more severe side effects of treatment. In addition to the daily medication, patients see their provider for a blood test every four weeks to check viral load, complete blood count (CBC) and liver function. A final blood draw is taken 12 weeks after the completion of therapy to determine if treatment is successful and the patient is cured.
It is estimated that 3 to 4 million Americans (1 to 2 percent of the population) are infected with hepatitis C. Harvoni is approved for patients with the main subtype of hepatitis, genotype 1, which represents about 70 percent of cases. Hepatitis C is the number one cause of death from liver disease, as well as the number one cause of death for HIV. Treating hepatitis C reduces a patient’s risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver, and ultimately, the risk for liver cancer.
According to Dr. Norris, medications like Harvoni represent a tremendous medical breakthrough, as hepatitis C is one of the first viral illnesses for which there is a cure. He recommends that people born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for the disease, regardless of their risk factors, as many who are infected are asymptomatic. Patients can request this screening through their primary care physician.
About Community Physician Network
Community Physician Network is one of the area’s largest multi-specialty medical groups, including more than 600 providers including primary care and specialty physicians, as well as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, in more than 80 locations across central Indiana. Community Physician Network is part of Community Health Network, which is ranked among the nation’s most integrated healthcare networks and includes specialty and acute care hospitals, health pavilions, surgery centers, home care, MedChecks, behavioral health and employer health services. Community Physician Network is dedicated to putting patients first, providing a full continuum of care that is easy for patients to use. To learn more, visit eCommunity.com/physician or call 800-777-7775.