Nurse Practitioners Provide Effective Care for Hepatitis C

Jennifer Barrett, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
Nurse practitioners (NPs) can effectively treat patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV), according to a study recently published in Annals of Internal Medicine. The study examined treatment provided by several different health care providers, including NPs, primary care physicians (PCPs), and specialists. 
The researchers evaluated a referred sample of 600 patients, 72% of which had HCV genotype 1a infection. The patients were assigned in a nonrandomized but specified manner to receive treatment from 1 of 5 NPs, 5 PCPs, or 6 specialists. The providers all participated in an identical 3-hour training session based on treatment guidelines. Patients were given treatment with ledipasvir-sofosbuvir (Harvoni, Gilead).
Of the patients receiving care, 516 achieved sustained virologic response (SVR), with a response rate of 81%. Response rates were found to be consistent across provider types, including NPs (89.3%), PCPs (86.9%), and specialists (83.8%).
The researchers determined that patient loss to follow-up was the primary cause of non-SVR.
Overall, the researchers concluded that utilizing both nurse practitioners and primary care physicians with appropriate training could increase the availability of community-based providers to provide HCV therapy.
Kattakuzhy S, Gross C, Emmanuel B, et al. Expansion of treatment for hepatitis C virus infection by task shifting to community-based nonspecialist providers: a nonrandomized clinical trial. Ann Intern Med. 2017. doi: 10.7326/M17-0118. 

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