Friday, February 23, 2018

News Recap:

Way to Go, Ontario!
Ontario removes fibrosis requirement for HCV treatment effective Feb 28th.  Action Hepatitis Canada has just shared some great news: Ontario has announced today that effective February 28, 2018, the fibrosis requirement for hepatitis C treatment will be removed! Finally, diagnosis of chronic hepatitis C and genotyping is all that will be required in Ontario to access treatment. This announcement comes almost one year since the pCPA negotiations which lowered hepatitis C treatment prices to the provinces and territories.   In BC, we are still holding our breath!!!  There are rumours, but we cannot say anymore…

Yet another study has shown that, for patients infected with HCV without advanced liver disease, achieving sustained virologic response with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) is associated with decreased mortality. The mortality rate of patients who achieved sustained virologic response was 1.18 deaths/100 patient years compared with 2.84 deaths/100 patient years for patients who did not achieve sustained virologic response. Significant Mortality Benefit Seen With Sustained HCV Virologic Response With DAAs.

Yes, WE ALREADY KNOW THIS!! (Are you listening BC?) And we also know that tobacco smoking is really bad for people with HCV (Smoking threatens health gains from hepatitis C treatment, US researchers warn), as is drinking alcohol (Alcohol use disorder compromises benefits of DAA therapy for HCV).

So, the upshot is that we have this huge untested body of people in Canada, going untreated when they should be treated, and many of them smoke tobacco and drink alcohol. NOT GOOD!

What to Do!:
So what is the take away message this week?  In the light of Canada’s decision to legalize marijuana this year, did you know that Marijuana might save your liver, according to a new study

I know this sounds totally ridiculous, but basically, if you have hepatitis C in Canada (not including Ontario) the best thing you can do for your liver in Canada is to stop smoking tobacco, stop drinking alcohol and go smoke some weed!

I guess Ontarians got the raw end of the deal on this one.. eh? 😉