Cure rates for chronic hepatitis C have improved dramatically with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), but treatment barriers remain. We aimed to compare treatment initiation rates and barriers across both interferon-based and DAA-based eras.We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients with chronic hepatitis C seen at an academic hepatology clinic from 1999 to 2016. Patients were identified to have chronic hepatitis C by the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes, and the diagnosis was validated by chart review. Patients were excluded if they did not have at least one visit in hepatology clinic, were under 18 years old or had prior treatment with DAA therapy. Patients were placed in the DAA group if they were seen after 1 January 2014 and had not yet achieved virological cure with prior treatment. All others were considered in the interferon group.3202 patients were included (interferon era: n=2688; DAA era: n=514). Despite higher rates of decompensated cirrhosis and medical comorbidities in the DAA era, treatment and sustained virological response rates increased significantly when compared with the interferon era (76.7% vs 22.3%, P<0.001; 88.8% vs 55%, P<0.001, respectively). Lack of follow-up remained a significant reason for non-treatment in both groups (DAA era=24%?and interferon era=45%). An additional 8% of patients in the DAA era were not treated due to insurance or issues with cost. In the DAA era, African-Americans, compared with Caucasians, had significantly lower odds of being treated (OR=0.37, P=0.02).Despite higher rates of medical comorbidities in the DAA era, considerable treatment challenges remain including cost, loss to follow-up and ethnic disparities.
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