For those suffering from hepatitis C, or HCV, a new therapy that
combines three different drugs treated about 90% of patients, according
to preliminary results from a randomized, phase 2 clinical trial
supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb . That’s exciting
news because this therapy doesn’t rely on the standard course of
treatment that has been used for years — a combination of pegylated
interferon alfa and ribavirin. These two medications can produce various
side effects that make treatment difficult and possibly dangerous.
Positive outcomes using only interferon and ribavirin occur in only
about 50% of patients with genotype 1, a difficult-to-treat form of HCV.
The new triple drug cocktail uses once-daily daclatasvir, twice-daily
asunaprevir, and a twice-daily still unnamed drug referred to as
BMS-791325. The drugs used in this new therapy are direct-acting agents
that target the virus, unlike the standard therapy, and lead to more
positive outcomes. The researchers found no adverse events that caused
patients to stop treatment, and the study is being expanded to include
other patient populations.