Late-stage trial: Telaprevir-based treatment aided cure of hepatitis C in patients

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. A majority of people taking an investigational treatment for hepatitis C were cured after taking it with two other drugs for the disease, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial released Wednesday.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals said 75% of people chronically infected with genotype 1 hepatitis C virus who had not received previous treatments were cured after receiving a 12-week combination regimen of the drug telaprevir, followed by treatment with pegylated-interferon and ribavirin alone. Sixty-nine percent of people who took telaprevir for eight weeks followed by pegylated-interferon and ribavirin alone were cured, while 44% of those in the control group who took only pegylated-interferon and ribavirin were cured. Pegylated interferons include Genentech’s Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a) and Merck’s PegIntron (peginterferon alfa-2b), while ribavirin is available as a generic.

“These first phase-3 results are important for people with hepatitis C, as they represent a potential new era of therapy where doctors may be able to use direct-acting antiviral medicines to improve treatment and help patients potentially avoid life-threatening liver-related consequences associated with chronic hepatitis C,” trial investigator and Weill Cornell Medical College Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology chief Ira Jacobson said.

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