Pharmacy Times

The Promise of Interferon-Free Treatment Regimens for Hepatitis C


In a podcast from the American Gastroenterological Association, Anna S. Lok, MD, a professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Health System, discussed an editorial titled “Interferon-Free Treatment Regimens for Hepatitis C: Are We There Yet?” that she coauthored in the December 2011 issue of Gastroenterology.
 
For approximately a decade up until 2011, the standard treatment for hepatitis C was a combination of interferon and ribavirin. The direct-acting antiviral agents telaprevir and boceprevir were approved last year as part of a triple-therapy regimen including interferon and ribavirin. In the interview, however, Dr. Lok explained that progress toward treating hepatitis C without interferon is proceeding very quickly.
 
Many hepatitis C patients are unable to tolerate interferon due to side effects, Dr. Lok explained, although clinicians also hope that an interferon-free treatment regimen could allow for a shorter duration of treatment and produce a higher response rate. She said that there are numerous trials underway to test interferon-free regimens and that some have already shown promising results. Pending the results of Phase 3 trials that should begin soon, Dr. Lok estimated that interferon-free regimens could be available within 3 to 5 years.
 
To listen to the interview, click here.