New Drug Combination Successfully Treats HIV-Hepatitis C Coinfection

Liver damage progresses at a more rapid pace in patients with HIV.

Liver damage progresses at a more rapid pace in patients with HIV.

Due to the dangers of liver damage in patients with an HIV-hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection, halting the progression of liver disease is imperative.

A study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine found the drug combination of daclatasvir and sofosbuvir was able to cure HCV in 97% of patients with an HIV coinfection.

Approximately 20 to 30% of HCV patients carry an HIV type 1 coinfection, according to the study.

"In many HCV-HIV co-infected patients, HCV therapies can have a strong interaction with HIV medications that complicate or potentially exclude them from HCV treatment," said lead author David Wyles, MD, in a press release. "This study is novel because it shows the new drug combination was not compromised when used with a wide range of HIV medications, increasing the number of HCV/HIV patients who can be treated without modifying their HIV medications."

The researchers conducted a 12-week study that enrolled 151 patients, which was the first time the daclatasvir and sofosbuvir treatment regimen was tested in patients with an HIV-HCV coinfection. The patients in the trial were closely monitored for up to 24 weeks following treatment.

The results of the study are significant as HCV is a major cause of chronic liver disease, with liver damage progressing more quickly in coinfected patients.

"Liver disease is a leading cause of death among HIV patients, so it is a high priority to treat coinfected patients and reduce the potentially fatal effect," Dr. Wyles said.

While sofosbuvir has already been approved in the United States, daclatasvir is set to be reviewed by the FDA in August.

"These findings are very exciting in the infectious diseases world, as they could help an entire demographic that has historically struggled finally receive successful treatment for HCV," Dr. Wyles concluded.