COMMENTARY

The Next Wave of Agents for Treatment of Hepatitis C

William F. Balistreri, MD

Disclosures

November 21, 2013

In This Article

The Next Wave of Hepatitis C Treatment

For several years, the recommended standard of care for patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection consisted of a combination of pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV). On the basis of understanding of the biology of the virus and identification of proteins involved in HCV replication came the development of agents that inhibited the HCV protease and polymerase enzymes.

A few years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 2 direct-acting antiviral agents for the treatment of HCV genotype 1: the NS3 protease inhibitors telaprevir and boceprevir. The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases guidelines[1] were updated to recommend triple therapy consisting of one of these protease inhibitors given in combination with PEG-IFN and RBV. This recommendation was based on results of clinical trials of this combination, which showed significantly improved sustained virologic response (SVR) rates. Although this triple therapy is generally well tolerated, troublesome side effects occur in many patients. The good news is that the guidelines may once again be revised thanks to the emergence of the next wave of direct-acting antivirals.

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