According to statistics, the prevalence rate of chronic hepatitis B in Taiwan is about 15 to 20%; in other words, there are about 2.5 million carriers nationwide, while the prevalence rate of chronic hepatitis C is about 2 to 4%; in other words, there are about 500,000 carriers nationwide. There are about 10,000 new liver cancer patients per year, and 13 people die from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis each day. Hepatic disease is indeed a national disease. For this reason, the importance of its treatment and regular follow-up is self-evident.
Chronic hepatitis B has been treated for over two decades. A choice of oral antiviral drugs—Lamivudine, Adefovir, Telbivudine, Entecavir, and Tenofovir—is currently available. A suitable treatment strategy must be determined depending on the condition of the patient. Long-term follow-up after treatment does reduce the incidence of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
According to literature's statistics, the efficacy of interferon therapy in patients with e-antigen-positive and e-antigen-negative chronic hepatitis B stands at 30% and 20% respectively. Compared with oral antiviral drugs, the hepatitis B surface antigen (also called “reversible” hepatitis B) is more likely to be removed through the immune system. In our experience, there is also 20% of efficacy.
Chronic hepatitis C can be treated with interferon combined with oral antiviral drugs (e.g. ribavirin) or new direct-acting antiviral medications (e.g. Harvoni, Sovaldi, Daclatasvir+Asunaprevir, Viekirax+ Dasabuvir, Zepatier ). Since the founding of the center, nearly 3,500 patients with hepatitis C have been treated with interferon in combination with oral antiviral drugs (e.g. ribavirin), with a successful rate of 78%.
The National Health Insurance Administration of the Ministry of Health and Welfare's (MOHW) pilot scheme for treating hepatitis C aims to give full oral medication therapy for patients with stage 3 liver fibrosis and cirrhosis starting January 24, 2017, with a cure rate of over 90%.
The center, since its inception, has participated in a number of large-scale international cooperative drug clinical trial protocols on hepatitis B (22 programs), hepatitis C (37), and liver cancer (9), for the purpose of providing patients with more treatment options and hopes.