New Drug Gives Hope to Hepatitis C Patients

Added by on April 2, 2011

A new study has shown encouraging results from using a cocktail of three drugs, one of which a new class of antiviral agent, in treating patients with hepatitis C.

New Drug Gives Hope to Hepatitis C Patients

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The study, published in New England Journal of Medicine, shows the effectiveness of using antiviral agent boceprevir in treating hepatitis C, a chronic viral disease of the liver that affects some 3.2 million Americans and causes more than 12,000 people to die every year from liver disease and liver cancer associated with the illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  .

Co-author Stuart Gordon, from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, said “This study represents a remarkable advance and a potential cure for people with hepatitis C who have not responded to previous therapy.”

More than 1,000 patients from different countries participated in the study. They were divided into three groups, which all received the current two-drug treatment of peginterferon and ribavirine (Rebetol) for four weeks.

One group then continued on the two-drug treatment for an additional 44 weeks, while one group added boceprevir and continued for 32 weeks, and the third group added boceprevir and continued for 44 weeks.

The two boceprevir groups showed better response than the two-drug group and the virus even disappeared from the blood of some patients.

Boceprevir is currently undergoing review to be approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration.

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