THURSDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can be effectively treated by primary care providers trained in the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) program, according to a study published online June 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Sanjeev Arora, M.D., from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and colleagues compared treatment for HCV infection at the University of New Mexico (UNM) HCV clinic with treatment by primary care physicians at 21 ECHO sites in New Mexico. The study included 407 patients with chronic HCV infections who had received no prior treatment, 146 of whom were treated in the UNM HCV clinic and 261 at ECHO sites. A sustained virologic response was the primary study end point.
The investigators found that there was no significant difference in sustained virologic response between the patients treated at the UNM HCV clinic and those treated at ECHO sites (57.5 versus 58.2 percent, P = 0.89). There was also no significant difference in the rate of virologic responses between patients with HCV genotype 1 infection treated at the UNM HCV clinic and those treated at ECHO sites. Significantly more patients treated at the UNM HCV clinic experienced serious adverse events compared to those treated at ECHO sites (13.7 versus 6.9 percent).
"We found that HCV infection, which is a complex disease, can be managed as effectively at a center that uses the ECHO model as at an academic medical center," the authors write.
One of the study authors disclosed financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry.