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Southampton Health Technology Assessments CentreNews

NICE issues guidance on sofosbuvir for chronic hepatitis C

Published: 25 February 2015

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance to the health service on sofosbuvir for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, informed by a report produced by SHTAC.

NICE’s guidance is that sofosbuvir is recommended as an option for treating chronic hepatitis C, in specific sub-groups of adult patients according to their previous treatment history, genotype and presence of liver cirrhosis.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that infects the cells of the liver, with most cases resulting from exposure to contaminated blood. Some people with hepatitis C virus clear the infection naturally, but in many the infection is persistent. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C infection may cause inflammation of the liver which in some patients leads eventually to cirrhosis or hepatocellular cancer and in severe cases may require liver transplant. In the early stages there may be few symptoms, and so the number of infected people is difficult to determine precisely. Around 173,000 people are thought to be chronically infected with hepatitis C in England and Wales, of which 17,000 are receiving treatment.

Sofosbuvir is classed as a ‘second generation nucleoside analogue' drug which prevents the replication of the hepatitis C viral genome by inhibiting the action of the viral RNA polymerase enzyme.

NICE’s guidance is informed by an evidence review group report prepared by SHTAC, which critically appraised the drug company’s submission to NICE’s Single Technology Appraisal process.

For more information on SHTAC's research into hepatitis please visit our Research page.

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