Navigation Links
New Drug May Boost Hepatitis C Treatment
Date:3/31/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Adding the new drug boceprevir to the current two-drug treatment for hepatitis C appears significantly more effective than the standard therapy, according to two new studies.

The drugs now used to treat hepatitis C, a chronic liver disease, are the antivirals peginterferon and ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, RibaTab and Ribasphere). Combining them with the not-yet approved drug boceprevir increased the response rate, researchers say.

Merck, the manufacturer of boceprevir, funded both studies, which are published in the March 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Boceprevir, a protease inhibitor, along with peginterferon and ribavirin increases response rates in previously untreated patients," said Dr. Raj Reddy, co-researcher of one of the studies and director of hepatology and medical director of liver transplantation at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

"Also, with this new strategy you have the potential of reducing the duration of therapy, from 48 weeks to 28 weeks," he added.

"We have turned the corner, a bit, and we have a combination treatment that is likely to be more effective in more people," he said.

For his study, 1,097 people, 159 of whom were black, who had not been treated for hepatitis C were randomly assigned to one of three groups. All groups were treated with peginterferon and ribavirin. After four weeks, one group also received a placebo for 44 weeks; another group had boceprevir added to their treatment for 24 weeks. The third group was given the three drugs for 44 weeks.

Among non-black patients, 40 percent achieved a sustained response to standard care. But as many as 68 percent of those also receiving boceprevir achieved sustained response at 28 weeks, the researchers found.

For black patients, the response rate was 23 percent for those receiving standard care and up to 53 percent with the addition of boceprevir.

The most severe side effect was anemia, which was seen in 13 percent of those receiving standard care and in 21 percent of those receiving all three drugs, Reddy's team noted.

In the other study, a group led by Dr. Bruce R. Bacon, director of the gastroenterology and hepatology division at St. Louis University Health Sciences Center, tested boceprevir on 403 patients with chronic hepatitis C. These patients had been previously treated with peginterferon and ribavirin.

Again, patients were divided into three groups similar to those in the other study. For those receiving boceprevir, the response rate was as high as 66 percent, compared with 21 percent for those receiving only peginterferon and ribavirin, the researchers found.

For patients who had no detectable hepatitis C RNA, the response rate to boceprevir was as high as 88 percent, the researchers noted.

As in the other study, anemia was the most serious side effect, affecting up to 46 percent of those taking boceprevir and 21 percent of those on standard care.

"The addition of boceprevir to peginterferon-ribavirin resulted in significantly higher rates of sustained virologic response in previously treated patients with chronic HCV (hepatitis C) genotype 1 infection, as compared with peginterferon-ribavirin alone," the authors concluded.

Commenting on the studies, Dr. Donald M. Jensen, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center and author of an accompanying journal editorial, said "there is a significant improvement in sustained response [with boceprevir], which really relates to cure of hepatitis C."

Jensen noted that a similar drug is also being tested. "These drugs will offer patients a significant advantage over current therapy," Jensen said.

Hepatitis C affects at least 3.2 million Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 12,000 people die each year from liver disease and cancer caused by hepatitis C. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, the researchers note.

Many people with hepatitis C are symptom-free and don't know they are infected, Jensen said. When symptoms do appear, it can be too late to treat the disease effectively, and the only option then is a liver transplant, he added.

More information

For more information on hepatitis C, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Raj Reddy, M.D., professor of medicine, director of hepatology, medical director of liver transplantation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Donald M. Jensen, M.D., professor of medicine, University of Chicago Medical Center; March 31, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Short Course of Hormone Therapy Boosts Prostate Cancer Survival: Study
2. Depression May Boost Arthritis Pain
3. FDA Panel: Ban on Menthol Cigarettes Would Boost Health
4. As we sleep, speedy brain waves boost our ability to learn
5. Loss of key protein boosts neuron loss in ALS
6. Australia Fellowship gives $4 million boost to cancer origin research
7. Obesity May Boost Odds of Aggressive Breast Cancer in Older Women
8. Uterine Fibroid Treatments Seem to Boost Quality of Life
9. Herceptin May Boost Long-Term Survival After Aggressive Breast Cancer
10. Redesign of US donor-liver network could boost transplants by several hundred per year
11. New method powerfully boosts efficiency of RNA interference (RNAi) in shutting down genes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New Drug May Boost Hepatitis C Treatment 
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ProVest Insurance ... greater Dallas, Miami, and Raleigh regions, is organizing an extended charity drive to ... and deadly chromosome abnormality. , After struggling since birth with several health challenges, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... The American Board of Family Medicine's (ABFM) Board of Directors has selected Warren ... James C. Puffer upon his retirement. Dr. Newton will serve in the position of ... end of 2018. Upon assuming the role of President and CEO on January 1, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the Law Office of Somekh & ... and special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel helps our office remain up to ... with elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. , ElderCounsel was founded ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional women, brought ... gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. The event ... audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, click here ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... DevOps and Agile Software Development, has been awarded a contract by the Center ... Purchase Agreement (BPA) aims to accelerate the enterprise use of Agile methodologies in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... 4, 2017  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ... . PhysicianOne Urgent Care is helping communities across Massachusetts ... , by offering no-cost* flu shots through the end of the month. ... health insurance regulations. ... to get a flu shot is by the end of October, according ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Oct. 2, 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... Software and Consulting, LLC , and named its founder ... based in Tennessee , will operate ... expands EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health care partners to ... "In an interoperable world, technology ...
(Date:10/2/2017)...  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the combined central specialty pharmacy ... benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime), today officially began ... unveiling of new signage at its headquarters in ... a few other company-owned facilities across the country. This ... of whom will begin to see the AllianceRx Walgreens ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: