To provide a review of the epidemiology, clinical presentation, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of hepatitis C with an emphasis on older adults. DATA SOURCES: PubMed and Google Scholar were searched for relevant literature using a combination of the following terms: hepatitis C, epidemiology, hepatitis C virus (HCV), diagnosis, treatment, direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), and older adults. In addition, websites of the hepatitis C guidelines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and manufacturers of DAAs were also reviewed for relevant information. (The authors reviewed the literature through May 2019.
STUDY SELECTION/DATA EXTRACTION:
The key resources reviewed were the CDC website, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases/Infectious Diseases Society of America hepatitis C guidelines, prescribing information of DAAs, and pivotal clinical trials of DAAs.
Hepatitis C disproportionately affects baby boomers and people who inject drugs (PWID). CDC recommends screening adults born from 1945 to 1965 and high-risk patients for the presence of hepatitis C antibody. The goal of therapy is to achieve sustained virologic response, defined as undetectable HCV ribonucleic acid 12 weeks after treatment completion. Treatment for those who are treatment-naive with or without compensated cirrhosis consists of administration of DAAs orally for 8 to 12 weeks. Regimen selection depends on HCV genotype, presence or absence of cirrhosis, comorbid conditions, and concurrent medications. Currently recommended DAAs are highly effective, well tolerated, and can be associated with significant drug interactions particularly in older adults. Access to DAAs remains an obstacle for many patients.
Hepatitis C is common among baby boomers and PWID. Screening is recommended in these patient populations. Treatment with DAAs is curative and well tolerated.