Liver Disease and Poor Adherence Limit Hepatitis C Cure: A Real-World Australian Treatment Cohort

Dig Dis Sci. 2023 Jan;68(1):291-303. doi: 10.1007/s10620-022-07483-y. Epub 2022 May 13.


Background and aims: In 2016, direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment for hepatitis C (HCV) became available through Australia's universal health care system, with the aim of HCV elimination. We report real-world effectiveness of DAA HCV treatment in Australia from a clinically well-informed cohort, enriched for cirrhosis and prior HCV treatment.

Methods: 3413 patients were recruited from 26 hospital liver clinics across Australia from February 2016 to June 2020. Clinical history and sustained viral response (SVR) were obtained from medical records and data linkage to the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Factors associated with SVR were assessed by multivariable logistic regression (MVR).

Results: At recruitment, 32.2% had cirrhosis (72.9% Child Pugh class B/C), and 19.9% were treatment experienced. Of the 2,939 with data, 93.3% confirmed SVR. 137 patients received second-line therapy. Patients with cirrhosis had lower SVR rate (88.4 vs. 95.8%; p < 0.001). On MVR, failure to achieve SVR was associated with Genotype 3 (adj-OR = 0.42, 95%CI 0.29-0.61), male gender (adj-OR = 0.49, 95%CI 0.31-0.77), fair/poor adherence (adj-OR = 0.52, 95%CI 0.28-0.94), cirrhosis (adj-OR = 0.57, 95%CI 0.36-0.88), FIB-4 > 3.25 (adj-OR = 0.52, 95%CI 0.33-0.83) and MELD score ≥ 20 (adj-OR = 0.25, 95%CI 0.08-0.80). Consistent results were seen in cirrhotic sub-analysis.

Conclusions: Excellent SVR rates were achieved with DAAs in this real-world cohort of patients with chronic HCV infection. More advanced liver disease and clinician impression of poor adherence were associated with HCV treatment failure. Supports to improve liver fibrosis assessment skills for non-specialist DAA prescribers in the community and to optimize patient adherence are likely to enable more effective pursuit of HCV elimination in Australia.

Keywords: Cirrhosis; Data linkage; Liver fibrosis; Patient adherence; Retreatment; Sustained viral response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepatitis C* / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C* / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic* / complications
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic* / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Male
  • Sustained Virologic Response
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents