A personal approach leads to nearly 200 cures
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, and long been thought to be incurable. Hepatitis can be caused by toxins, bacterial and viral infections, other diseases, certain drugs and heavy alcohol use. The most common types are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Hep C is a contagious form of liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. It results from infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 30,500 cases of acute hepatitis C virus infections in the United States in 2014 compared to between 2.7 and 3.9 million people with chronic Hepatitis C. The Centers for Disease Control now recommend that individuals born between 1945 and1965 be tested for Hepatitis C as there are presently 800,000 people with undiagnosed Hepatitis C.
Previously, many of Hepatitis C patients spent years on medication just trying to maintain their disease without it worsening. There are now 17 FDA-approved medications to treat Hepatitis C, and some recent additions have proved to be effective in providing a cure with fewer side effects. But administrators and doctors at The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas Medical Center went a step further, creating a specialized clinic to pair the improved prescriptions with personalized care from our pharmacists.
The pharmacists of the Medication Therapy Management Clinic work with the patients to reconcile all of their medications so they don’t conflict with each other. They also order, obtain, and interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, in consultation with the patient’s physician, and work to get medications covered by insurance. If the insurance provider denies the patient, then the pharmacists will write appeals on their behalf, and try to get co-pay assistance if needed.
While many of the medications are available at commercial pharmacies, none offer the personalized care like face to face and 24-hour medication counseling, and follow-up to ensure patients are getting their refills on time. This tailored approach is working. Since the MTM Clinic began in June 2015, all 190 patients have been cured of Hepatitis C, with more in treatment currently.