Simeprevir-Based Therapy Offers Patients in Developing Countries a Cost-Effective Alternative in Treatment of Hepatitis C

PHILADELPHIA — Researchers at Penn Medicine, in collaboration with a multi-center international team, have shown that a protease inhibitor, simeprevir, a once a day pill, along with interferon and ribavirin has proven as effective in treating chronic Hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) as telaprevir with interferon and ribavirin, the standard of care in developing countries. Further, simeprevir proved to be simpler for patients and had fewer adverse events. The complete study is now available online and is scheduled to publish in January 2015 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

“The observations from the study present simeprevir, peginterferon and ribavirin as a good therapeutic option for regions of the world where all-oral therapies are unavailable or cost prohibitive,” says Rajender Reddy, MD, professor of Medicine and director of Hepatology the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “This is the only study we are aware of that directly compares telaprevir to simeprevir.” Telaprevir, another protease inhibitor, is an oral HCV medication taken up to three times daily, has multiple side effects and is less accessible than simeprevir. Simeprevir is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

In the U.S. and other countries where access to the latest research and treatment for HCV is available, physicians have moved towards all-oral therapy and away from interferon-based therapies such as these, as they are known to come with a significant number of side effects and are not as effective.


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