Title: Eight-week hepatitis C treatment with new direct-acting antivirals has a better safety profile while being effective in the treatment-naïve geriatric population without liver cirrhosis and hepatitis C virus-RNA < 6 Million IU/mL—B. Yanny, et. al.
Source: Dig Dis Sci. 2018 Sep 27. doi: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30259281
Study Aims and Results: Currently, eight weeks of Harvoni (ledipasvir plus sofosbuvir) is the recommended treatment period for people with hepatitis C (HCV) genotype 1, treatment naïve, without cirrhosis and who have an HCV viral load less than 6 million. The goal of the study was to find out if the recommended eight-week treatment duration can be applied to people over 65 years old.
A total of 454 patients were enrolled in the study—82 patients were treated for eight weeks, and 272 patients were treated for 12 weeks. The two groups were evenly matched for sex and age. All of the people were over 65 years old.
The cure rate in the 8-week group was 93% vs. 95% in the 12-week group. Eight-weeks of Harvoni was found to be safe, better tolerated and as effective compared to the 12-week Harvoni treatment group. As expected, the costs and treatment-related side effects in the 8-week treatment group were lower compared to the 12-week treatment group.
Conclusion: Treating people over 65 years old for eight weeks using the same patient characteristics as people treated for 12 weeks is as effective, produced fewer side effects, and is cost-effective.
Editorial Comments: This study showed that people over 65 years old could reap the benefits of an eight-week treatment of Harvoni.
A shorter treatment period will help to reduce side effects and increase medical insurance approval. Since people over 65 years old are more likely to take more medications, I would like to understand what benefit this would have for these persons.
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