Chronic viral hepatitis: what’s new in primary care?

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Patients can now be offered curative therapies Patients can now be offered curative therapies

The last five years has seen a huge evolution in the treatment and management of chronic viral hepatitis. Hepatitis B and C are chronic, blood-borne viruses which can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and death, as well as being communicable to others. Infection with either virus increases the risk of progression to liver cirrhosis and liver failure.1 However, the development of new directly-acting antiviral drugs (DAAs) approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) means patients can be offered effective curative therapies for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), with more than 95% of patients cleared of the virus. For people living with hepatitis B virus (HBV), the development of new diagnostic techniques and antiviral therapies also allows better monitoring and long-term management. In light of these exciting new developments, primary care nurses and healthcare professionals (HCPs) will be at the forefront of identifying people living with viral hepatitis and could soon be delivering their care in community-based settings.

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