Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Drug Effectively Treats Hepatitis C

(HealthDay News) -- The recently approved drug Incivek, combined with two standard drugs, is highly effective at treating hepatitis C, a notoriously difficult-to-manage liver disease, two new studies show.

The drug works not only in patients just starting treatment, but in those who failed earlier treatment, the research found.

The hepatitis C virus can lurk in the body for years, causing liver damage, cirrhosis and even liver failure.

"This is a significant advance in the treatment of hepatitis C," said Dr. David Bernstein, chief of the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., who was not involved in either study.

"We know that if we can get rid of the hepatitis C, we can prevent the progression of [liver] disease," he said. "This means we can prevent the progression of cirrhosis, we can prevent the development of cancer and also prevent the need for liver transplantation in a large number of people."

Incivek (telaprevir) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May and is the second drug in a class of drugs called protease inhibitors to be approved to fight hepatitis C. The other drug, called Victrelis (boceprevir), was also approved in May. Read more...

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