Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New combination of drugs offers hope for hepatitis C

The earliest protease inhibitors are used to keep HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in check. While HIV protease inhibitors don't totally eliminate that virus, Incivek and Victrelis can rid patients of hepatitis C.

Drugs both have drawbacks
UT Southwestern liver specialist William Lee oversaw the study in which Terry participated. He has used both new drugs in clinical trials. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, he says, and, because they have not been compared head-to-head, it's not clear which to choose for which patient.
One drawback of both, Lee says, is that they must be taken with food at three evenly spaced times over a 24-hour period, which can be tricky. The "Medication Guide" provided with each drug tells how to make up a single missed dose but not more missed doses. "I don't think they know what to do," Lee says.
Bzowej, who also was involved in trials of both drugs, says, "I think this is a turning point in the history of hepatitis C treatment, but it's the beginning of what's to come."

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