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New Drugs for Hepatitis C

Published Online: Friday, February 24, 2012

In an interview with The Florida Times-Union, Andrew P. Keaveny, MD, medical director of liver transplantation at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, discussed the 2011 approval of the protease inhibitors telaprevir and boceprevir as part of a triple-therapy regimen for hepatitis C. He said that the standard treatment for hepatitis C, interferon and ribavirin, has a 40% to 60% chance of achieving sustained virologic response. By comparison, triple therapy including either of the newly approved protease inhibitors in addition to interferon and ribavirin, has a 70% chance of sustained virologic response.
 
Dr. Keaveny explained that the protease inhibitors represent a major advance because they directly attack replication of the hepatitis C virus, whereas interferon and ribavirin fight the virus indirectly. He added that the new drugs do have new side effects as well as significant potential interactions with other medications. He added that, while triple therapy may require treatment as short as 24 to 48 weeks, regular blood tests and clinician visits are required during this period to monitor the patient’s progress.
 
To listen to the interview, click here.
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