Hepatitis B patients' understanding of infection and treatment deficient

May 25, 2007

Many patients with chronic hepatitis B are deficient in their understanding of the lifelong disease and often do not comply with the drug regimens necessary to control it, according to a new UCLA survey that suggests improved patient involvement in disease management decisions could be the key to fixing this problem.

The national survey — funded by Idenix Pharmaceuticals and Novartis Pharma AG and presented May 20 during the annual Digestive Diseases Week conference in Washington, D.C. — indicates that patient involvement in disease management decisions need to be improved, which could result in better adherence to drug regimens and improved clinical outcomes.

“The results of this study are very compelling and are a wake-up call to physicians caring for hepatitis B patients that we need to educate our patients more about risk factors, modes of transmission and expectations regarding antiviral therapy,” said Dr. Steven-Huy Han, associate clinical professor of medicine and surgery in the division of digestive diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a consultant for both Idenix and Novartis.

The study was based on responses from 301 adult chronic hepatitis B patients on antiviral therapy. Of those, 24 percent were on interferon treatment. Most of these patients were males between the ages of 31 and 50, with about half being of Asian descent. In addition, 64 percent were from the mid-Atlantic or Pacific regions of the United States. The study was based on Internet interviews, supplemented by telephone interviews, conducted between September and November 2006.

Among the findings:
-- 36 percent of respondents mistakenly thought the virus could be spread through sharing utensils.
-- 80 percent were aware of the long-term consequences of the hepatitis B virus.
-- Half of the respondents erroneously believed a cure existed for the chronic virus, though just more than 60 percent had been in treatment for about a year.
-- 31 percent said they knew specific names of hepatitis B virus tests, but only half knew what the tests measured.
-- 85 percent felt that measuring virus levels was important, though 27 percent didn’t know if their physicians took those measurements.
-- 37 percent did not discuss treatment goals with their physicians, yet 88 percent of these respondents felt they should be doing this.
-- 51 percent felt involved in treatment decisions.
-- 54 percent were unsure why the drugs they were taking had been chosen.

Respondents also admitted frequently missing doses or taking them at the wrong time. For instance, 12 percent admitted not complying once per month; 7 percent once every two weeks; 7 percent once a week; 7 percent two to three times per week; 1 percent four to six times per week; and 4 percent once per day. Also, 9 percent thought that missing one or two doses didn’t matter.


Source: University of California - Los Angeles

Explore further: Researchers create smartphone-based device that reads medical diagnostic tests quickly and accurately

Related Stories

Sequencing technique unveiling the realm of viral mutations

May 13, 2015

Researchers at A*STAR have devised a sequencing technique that can track specific viral variants produced when viruses such as hepatitis B rapidly mutate within individual patients. The breakthrough allows an unprecedented ...

Using viruses to find the cellular Achilles heel

January 22, 2015

Back-to-back studies from researchers at the Gladstone Institutes have exposed new battle tactics employed by two deadly viruses: hepatitis C (HCV) and the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). Published in the ...

Viral switches share a shape

October 27, 2014

A hinge in the RNA genome of the virus that causes hepatitis C works like a switch that can be flipped to prevent it from replicating in infected cells. Scientists have discovered that this shape is shared by several other ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.