The Hepatitis C virus is daunting in nature, affecting 180 million people worldwide and a little over 4 million people in the United States. As the leading cause of chronic liver disease, which often leads to liver cancer, hepatitis C is currently difficult to treat with success. The typical treatment for patients with hepatitis C today involves injections of the antiviral drug interferon alpha. This standard treatment is generally not well tolerated by patients, leading to a discontinuation of treatment altogether. Adverse effects of the interferon alpha injections include fevers, flu symptoms, exhaustion, weakness and depression.
|HCV RNA Levels in Groups A and B after treatment with the daclatasvir and asunaprevir|
There is a new hope, however, for these millions of patients, in the form of a new drug combination treatment. On April 25, 2013 Bristol Myers revealed the success of a novel oral hepatitis C cocktail. This drug combination is made up of Daclatasvir and Asunaprevir. The oral administration of this medication is significant, as it eliminates the need for painful and side effect laden injections. In addition, this two punch combo has been proven to successfully clear the hepatitis C virus in patients who had not previously responded to the standard injection treatments.
One study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in January 2012 focused on an arm of patients who were infected with the most common type of the hepatitis C virus- genotype 1. These patients had not responded to prior treatments of interferon and ribavirin. However, after treatment with the Daclatasvir and Asunaprevir duo, the patients showed a 90% to 100% rate of sustained response. Patients documented mild side effects of diarrhea, nausea, headache and fatigue.
While the dynamic combination of Daclatasvir and Asunaprevir is not yet FDA approved, scientists are hopeful that this oral regimen will be ready to go by 2015.
See Daclatasvir and Asunaprevir news update here.
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