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Groessl EJ, Weingart KR, Stepnowsky CJ, Gifford AL, Asch SM, Ho SB. The hepatitis C self-management programme: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Viral Hepatitis. 2011 May 1; 18(5):358-68.
Chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection afflicts millions of people worldwide. While antiviral treatments are effective for some patients, many either cannot or choose not to receive antiviral treatment. Education about behavioural changes like alcohol avoidance and symptom management, in contrast, is universally recommended, particularly in HCV-infected persons from disadvantaged groups where liver risk factors are most prevalent. Self-management interventions are one option for fostering improved HCV knowledge and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). One hundred and thirty-two patients with VA with HCV (mean age of 54.6, 95% men, 41% ethnic minority, 83% unmarried, 72% unemployed/disabled, 48% homeless in last 5 years) were randomized to either a 6-week self-management workshop or an information-only intervention. The weekly 2-h self-management sessions were based on cognitive-behavioural principles and were adapted from an existing self-management programme that has been efficacious with other chronic diseases. HCV-specific modules were added. Outcomes including HRQOL, HCV knowledge, self-efficacy, depression, energy and health distress were measured at baseline and 6 weeks later. Data were analysed using ANOVA. When compared to the information-only group, participants attending the self-management workshop improved more on HCV knowledge (P < 0.001), HCV self-efficacy (P = 0.011), and SF-36 energy/vitality (P = 0.040). Similar trends were found for SF-36 physical functioning (P = 0.055) and health distress (P = 0.055). Attending the self-management programme improved disease knowledge and HRQOL 6 weeks later in this disadvantaged population. The intervention can improve the health of people with hepatitis C, independent of antiviral therapy. Future research will study longer-term outcomes, effects on antiviral treatment and costs.