Barriers to treatment of chronic hepatitis C with direct acting antivirals in an urban clinic

Miguel Malespin, Ciel Harris, Ozdemir Kanar, Kelly Jackman, Carmen Smotherman, Abbey Johnston, Julie Ferm, Silvio W. de Melo, James S. Scolapio, David R. Nelson, Scott J. Cotler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction and aim: Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) agents are highly effective for treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) yet access to treatment remains a serious challenge. The aim of this study was to identify barriers to treatment initiation with DAA-containing regimens in an urban clinic setting. Materials and methods: A retrospective cohort of all chronic HCV patients seen in an urban academic practice in Jacksonville, FL, USA from 1/2014 to 1/2017 was analyzed. Baseline characteristics were recorded and a review of medical records was performed to identify barriers to treatment initiation and overall success rates. Results: Two-hundred and forty patients with chronic HCV were analyzed. Fifty-six percent of patients were African-American and 63% were insured through Medicaid/county programs or uninsured. Sixty-nine percent had barriers to initiating antiviral therapy categorized as psychosocial (n = 112), provider (n = 26), medical (n = 20), and insurance-related factors (n = 7). The most commonly encountered psychosocial barriers included failure to keep appointments (79/240, 33%), active substance abuse (18/240, 8%), and failure to obtain laboratory testing (11/240, 5%). Overall, only 27% of patients evaluated were initiated on DAA-containing regimens with 18% reaching SVR12 within the 36-month study period. Conclusion: In conclusion, only 27% of patients who presented to an urban academic practice with chronic HCV received DAA-containing regimens over a 36-month period. Psychosocial issues were the major barriers to antiviral therapy. These findings illustrate the need for an integrated approach that addresses psychosocial factors as well as comorbidities and adherence to care in order to increase rates of HCV treatment in at risk patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-309
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of hepatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Barriers to treatment
  • Chronic hepatitis C
  • Direct acting antivirals
  • Psychosocial factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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