April 1, 2011
Two experimental therapies could revolutionize hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, experts said Wednesday. The new drugs also reportedly reduce disparities in treatment response rates between black HCV patients and white HCV patients.
The new drugs, boceprevir and telaprevir, both work by blocking an enzyme HCV needs for replication. They nearly doubled the odds of achieving sustained viral response among treatment-naïve HCV patients, and they tripled the odds of SVR among patients who had failed to respond to treatment or suffered a relapse. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve both drugs in May. "Once these drugs are available, doctors are going to be overwhelmed" by patients requesting treatment, predicted Dr. Raymond Koff, a Hepatitis Foundation International board member.
The most difficult-to-treat form of HCV is also the most common -- genotype 1. Conventional therapy of peginterferon and ribavirin has a response rate of about 50 percent.
Los Angeles Times
03.31.2011; Thomas H. Maugh II
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