As of November/December, two antiviral agents were approved by the
Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) to treat adult patients with chronic
: Simeprevir [Olysio
] , developed by Johnson & Johnson’s
pharmaceutical division Janssen Pharmaceutica, and Sofosbuvir [Sovaldi
], developed by Gilead Sciences.
is a blood-borne disease that infects between three and 10 million
Americans and is blamed for 15,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
We are currently in a new era with respect to the management
of hepatitis C viral infection. After
almost a decade, these new antiviral therapies are now available and provide
hope to hepatitis C patients by improving the cure rate of the disease and
significantly shortening the duration of treatment.
Until the development of these new drugs, treatment normally
required a one-year regimen of pills and injections that caused flu-like
symptoms and was only 50 percent effective in curing patients. Now, findings show that when these new
medications are added to standard treatment, about 85-90 percent of previously
untreated patients are cured and nearly 60-70 percent of those who had failed
previous standard of care therapy were cured. The team of specialists at the UPMC Center for
Liver Diseases is proud to have been involved in the evaluation process and
clinical trials of these therapies.
However, while these results are promising, we need to keep
in mind that the management of these medications is quite complex and patients still
require a multidisciplinary approach to achieve a successful outcome. It’s important that hepatitis C patients seek
broad spectrum care from their doctor, so they can be evaluated for these newer
antiviral therapies and monitored for adverse events.
Kapil Chopra, M.D., is the clinical director of Hepatology for the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases.
The team at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases is comprised of physicians, nurse
practitioners, physician assistants, clinical pharmacologists, nurse
coordinators, and psychiatrists, all dedicated to the management of chronic
hepatitis C and is well poised to implement the care of patients using new
advances in drug therapy. For
information about the Center, please call 800-447-1651 or 412-647-1170. Resources are also available through the American Association for the Study of Liver
Labels: Hepatitis C, hepatology, UPMC Center for Liver Diseases