A New Era for the Treatment of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a leading cause of liver-related mortality and the number one indication for liver transplantation in the United States.

On May of 2011, the FDA approved 2 new drugs for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis C:

  • Incivek (Telaprevir, by Vertex) 700mg (two 350mg tablets) three times daily with food
  • Victrelis (Boceprevir, by Merck) 800mg (four 200mg capsules) three times daily with food

These new treatments are also referred to as direct antiviral agents (DAA¹s).  The use of DAA¹s in clinical practice comes nearly a decade after the implementation of pegylated interferon and ribavirin as the standard of care for the treatment of HCV, which was only able to cure less than half of the treated patients. The DAA¹s have been anxiously waited for and they will significantly improve our ability to treat patients with hepatitis C.

Candidates for treatment with the new regimen include:

  • Adult patients (over the age of 18), infected with genotype 1 hepatitis C virus
  • Patients who have compensated liver disease, including cirrhotic stage disease
  • Patients who were never treated (treatment naïve) or have previously failed interferon-based therapy.

Both Victrelis (Boceprevir) and Incivek (Telaprevir) are designed to be used only in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. They are not to be used as by themselves due to the high rate of resistance development.

This scientific progress without a doubt opens a new era in the treatment of hepatitis C.  The physicians and liver specialists at Gastro Health are all excited with the improved treatment efficacy and the possibility to help our patients who have been long waiting for a new hope in fighting against this disease.