The rapid evolution of treatment strategies for hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment took a major step forward at the end of 2013 with the approvals of the second-generation protease inhibitor simeprevir (Olysio) and the nucleotide polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir (Sovaldi). The interferon-free regimen of sofosbuvir and ribavirin is now available for genotype 2 and 3 patients. This regimen for 12 weeks is highly effective for genotype 2, whereas genotype 3 has proven to be more challenging and requires 24 weeks of therapy. Genotype 1 patients have reduced exposure to peginterferon-α with a 12-week regimen with sofosbuvir and a 24-week regimen with simeprevir. Genotype 4, 5, and 6 patients also respond well to the regimen of sofosbuvir, peginterferon-α, and ribavirin. In another landmark event, the initial approval of sofosbuvir included HCV/HIV-1 coinfected patients. Simeprevir and sofosbuvir also provide a window to the future with sustained virologic response (SVR) rates of >90% for genotype 1 when these agents are combined. Interferon-free regimens for genotype 1 patients have anticipated approvals in late 2014 or early 2015. Clinicians and patients will have the opportunity to discuss and select from current treatment options or await upcoming regimens. These potent new agents provide the tools to cure HCV for many patients.
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