A Bargain for your Liver Treatment

Chronic Hepatitis C shown affecting the liver.
Photo courtesy of medimoon.com

January 30, 2014– The Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) affects approximately 170 million people across the globe and is the leading cause of the infectious disease Hepatitis C (hep C). Chronic HCV infections also lead to the scarring of the liver and liver cancer.

A research study published earlier this month in The New England Journal of Medicine shows the effects of combining oral, antiviral drugs, such as: daclatasvir, sofosbuvir, and ribsvirin, to treat HCV.

There are currently no vaccines available to treat hep C though treatments do exist to achieve a sustained virologic response (SVR), which is the “closest cure” for hepatitis. The SVR means that during the six months after a hepatitis treatment, there is no detectable hep C virus in the blood.

The experimental drugs in this study differ from the conventional “triple-therapy” hep C drugs that are commonly used. Conventional drugs included weekly injections. Moreover, research for a different drug combination was needed after the conventional drugs were found to cause many adverse side effects and require higher dosages.

Combining daclatasvir, sofosbuvir, and ribsvirin improved antiviral response for many hepatitis C patients. This new combination of drugs does not eliminate the hep C virus from the liver, but does effectively treat the virus. The study concluded that daily doses of these combined drugs corresponded to less symtoms in hep C patients.

Citation 

Sulkowski, Mark S, et al. (2014) Daclatasvir plus Sofosbuvir for Previously Treated or Untreated Chronic HCV Infection, New England Journal of Medicine January 16, 2014 370(3):211

Original Article http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1306218

Press Release http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/new_drug_combo_cures_toughest_cases_of_hepatitis_c_hints_to_future_injection_free_therapies

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