FDA approves GSK drug for hepatitis C patients with low platelet counts

Promacta approved to allow patients with thrombocytopenia to start interferon therapy

LONDON — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug for a condition that can complicate treatment for hepatitis C.

GlaxoSmithKline said Monday that the FDA had approved Promacta (eltrombopag) for treating low blood-platelet counts, also known as thrombocytopenia, to allow patients with hepatitis C to undergo and maintain interferon-based therapy. The drug already had FDA approval to treat chronic immune thrombocytopenia. 

"Some chronic hepatitis C patients suffer from low blood platelet counts," GSK Oncology president Paolo Paoletti said. "Commonly prescribed interferon-based therapies can worsen the problem of low blood-platelet counts. Today's FDA approval of Promacta gives doctors a tool to address the low platelet challenge."

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