Curing Hepatitis C in Half the Time
A new drug regimen developed at several medical centers, including Cedars-Sinai, cuts the length of treatment for hepatitis C in half for nearly two-thirds of patients, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The treatment employs telaprevir, which inhibits the virus’ ability to replicate. This anti-viral drug, and a similar medication called boceprevir, nearly doubled the number of patients who experienced a sustained response. Among patients treated with the regimen, 72 percent were cured.
Patients who are clear of the virus within the first four to 12 weeks of therapy can stop treatment after six months instead of nearly a year. In addition to decreased costs, this also means fewer side effects and less disruption to patients’ lives.
These findings also affirm the benefits of response-guided therapy. “Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, we can individualize treatment based on patients’ specific response to the drugs,” says Fred Poordad, MD, chief of Hepatology and Liver Transplantation at Cedars-Sinai and a senior author of the study.