Evaluation of factors affecting patients' refusal of HCV treatment in a cohort of Egyptian patients.

Hashem, Mohamed B., Hedy A. Badary, Noha A. Mahfouz, Shaden Adel, Mohamed Alboraie, Mohamed Abdallah, Wafaa Al Akel, Ramy Saeed, Islam Ammar, Wael Abdel-Razek et al. "Evaluation of factors affecting patients' refusal of HCV treatment in a cohort of Egyptian patients." Journal of public health (Oxford, England) (2021).


BACKGROUND: Treatment refusal, defined as active refusal of a patient to receive treatment despite physician recommendations, has not been extensively evaluated before in hepatitis C virus in the era of direct acting antivirals.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the reasons for refusal to receive hepatitis C virus treatment in Egypt.

METHODS: an observational study conducted between July 2018 and November 2019 in Egypt. Enrollment was done to all patients who refused to get hepatitis C virus treatment during the national screening and treatment campaign. Reasons for their refusal were identified using a questionnaire as an instrument for data collection.

RESULTS: Out of the 220 280 Egyptian hepatitis C virus patients who did not show up to start treatment and were contacted to get therapy, only 84 patients (0.038%) refused to receive treatment. The main reason for their refusal was having concerns about treatment (82.14%) and their main concern was the fear of adverse events (85.5%). Other causes of refusal were non-satisfactory experience at treatment centers (13.09%) and patients preferred to receive complementary and alternative medicines (4.7%). Most patients (65.4%) trusted the efficacy of directly acting antivirals for hepatitis C. None of the study participants was found to suffer from any psychiatric morbidity and the average score of the GHQ-12 was 10.7155.

CONCLUSION: Proper health education and awareness regarding hepatitis C virus treatment safety and efficacy is needed to increase treatment acceptance rates.