For the past decade the treatment for chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) has been the drugs peginterferon and ribavirin, but liver specialists like Dr. Mitchell Shiffman of the Liver Institute of Virginia will soon be able to offer new and much more effective treatments for chronic HCV.
The results of studies evaluating two different protease inhibitors, telaprevir and boceprevir, were recently made available. Protease inhibitors are powerful anti-viral agents which prevent viruses from reproducing. When either of these protease inhibitors (telaprevir or boceprevir) were taken with the traditional drugs to treat chronic HCV (peginterferon and ribavirin), 67-75% of patients in these studies were cured of HCV.
Patients who responded rapidly and had undetectable HCV within 4 weeks of initiating treatment with the protease inhibitor, peginterferon and ribavirin had the highest cure rates – approximately 90-95% – and this was achieved with just 24 weeks of treatment.
These are great and promising results for those suffering from chronic HCV. However, as with all drugs, there are side effects and therefore patients must be monitored carefully.
Many other protease inhibitors are being developed for treatment of chronic HCV. Clinical trials utilizing many of these agents are being conducted by Dr. Shiffman and his staff at the Liver Institute of Virginia. Any physician interested in having a patient evaluated for enrollment into one of these clinical trials should contact the Liver Institute of Virginia for an appointment.