Hepatitis C Activity Inhibited by OTC Allergy Drug

Pharmacy Times, September 2015 Specialty Pharmacy, Volume 81, Issue 9

An OTC drug used to alleviate allergy symptoms could treat hepatitis C virus infection as well.

An OTC drug used to alleviate allergy symptoms could treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection as well, according to the results of a recent study.

The study, in Science Translational Medicine, evaluated the effects of the antihistamine chlorcyclizine HCl (CCZ) on human liver cells grafted into mice. The researchers found that the drug impaired the virus’ ability to enter liver cells, preventing the early stage of HCV infection. This outcome was similar to that produced by common antiviral drugs, but without many of the adverse events often associated with such drugs.

“Using an innovative highthroughput screening process, we identified CCZ as a potent inhibitor of hepatitis C,” said researcher Anton Simeonov, PhD, the acting scientific director of the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, in a press release. “Identifying already approved drugs from the NCATS Pharmaceutical Collection may offer a faster route to potential discovery of treatments for all diseases.”

“Although hepatitis C is curable, there is an unmet need for effective and affordable medication,” added lead author T. Jake Liang, MD. “CCZ is a promising candidate for part of a treatment regimen for this potentially lifethreatening disease.”

The researchers plan to study the drug’s effects on people, but cautioned that CCZ should not be used to treat HCV infection until it has been demonstrated that the drug can be used safely and effectively for that purpose.