Interferon-Free Therapy Shows High Cure Rates in Hepatitis C Patients with Cirrhosis

Investigational 3-drug combination cleared the virus in 93% of treatment-naïve patients.

Investigational 3-drug combination cleared the virus in 93% of treatment-naïve patients.

An investigational 3-drug combination cleared hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 93% of previously untreated patients with liver cirrhosis during a recent clinical trial.

The 3 drugs, daclatasvir, asunaprevir, and beclabuvir, have yet to be approved by the FDA, but daclatasvir is currently under review.

The trial, published in the May 5 edition of JAMA, included patients with HCV-related cirrhosis, 112 of whom were treatment-naïve and 90 whom had prior unsuccessful therapies. In patients who previously failed therapies and have potential resistance, the drugs were slightly less successful, clearing the virus in 87% of patients.

Including ribavirin in the treatment regimen of previously treated patients cleared the virus in 93%, which mirrored the results of patients receiving treatment for the first time. There were minimal side effects found in most participants, with 9 patients experiencing serious adverse events, of which 3 were related to treatment.

The study's limitations included the lack of a placebo group that could identify the sources of side effects and a lack of racial diversity, as 88% of participants were white. Furthermore, the study did not statistically distinguish the effect of adding ribavirin to the daily regimen of some patients.

"The development of interferon-free treatments has been a tremendous step forward in the standard of care," lead author Andrew Muir, MD, MHS, said in a press release. "These drugs are highly effective and well-tolerated by patients at all stages of liver disease."