A new class of oral drugs for curing hepatits C is hitting the markets this winter, displacing injectible predecessors and ushering in treatments that are shorter and in some cases avoid side-affect riddled interferon.
With Johnson & Johnson’s Olysio already winning FDA approval in November, Gilead Sciences’s sofosbuvir set to get the nod next week, and a range of competing drugs from AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck coming along quickly, here’s what you need to know about them.
1. They work better, but not for everyoneThis new
class of drugs is more effective than the prior-generation injectibles,
which include Incivek, now fully controlled by Johnson following
Vertex’s exit, and Victrelis, made by Merck. Both Gilead and J&J’s
new drugs are approved for 12-week treatment courses, far shorter than
the 24- to 48-week courses for those predecessors. But both Gilead’s and
J&J’s drugs don’t cure everyone.