Hepatitis D rebounds in Spain and doctors warn of lack of treatment

Hepatitis D recovers in Spain. They warn him of Spanish Society of Digestive Pathology (SEPD). After believing “virtually extinct” in the 90s – when this viral hepatitis had great clinical importanceaffecting 20% ​​of patients who have had a chronic infection by the hepatitis B virus-, currently, the prevalence of this disease is about 5%. This is one of the main conclusions of Dr. Manuel Rodriguez Garciaspecialist in the digestive system of the Central University Hospital of Asturias (Oviedo) within the framework of the 81 Congresses of the scientific society held in Leon.

The profile of the patient with hepatitis D, the experts point out, has varied over time. At the end of the last century, those most affected by the disease used injection drugs there hemophiliacs that they have received contaminated blood transfusions with both viruses. However, thanks to vaccination programs against the hepatitis B virus and improved screening, the prevalence has dropped considerably in Spain. A trend that, according to Dr. Rodríguez García, is being reversed in our country, which registers a rebound in cases in recent years.


The main reason for this increasespecifies this expert, would be, among other circumstances, in the migratory phenomena which arrive in Spain since the Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europeaffecting more men than women and, above all, to the young population. The migratory flows come from areas where hepatitis D still has a high prevalence, “experts must therefore be vigilant and look for the D virus in patients with chronic infection”. for hepatitis B“.

Another of the circumstances that has made hepatitis D still one of the most misunderstood within the family of viral hepatitis It’s the lack of a therapeutic arsenal, as this expert warned. Unlike hepatitis B and C, in D “there are no treatment options with an acceptable response rate, which has the effect of worsening the prognosis of the disease and patients who suffer from it are at risk higher to suffer from cirrhosis or liver cancer”.

new treatments

Currently the only treatment available in Spain for hepatitis D is interferonan agent who manages to remove viral and hepatic activity only in a minority of patients treated, say the doctors. However, there are new pharmacological advances “with more efficacy and tolerance” against the disease, as is the case with “bulevirtide”, an antiviral already authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA, for its acronym in English) and by the American Medicines Agency (FDA, for its acronym in English), but it is not yet authorized by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (Aemps) .

In this context, the specialist considers that Spain must “urgently” approve new therapeutic options for hepatitis D and that the new generations of gastroenterologists start looking for it in all patients with virus B infection.

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