Shorter Hepatitis C Treatment Durations May Be a Reality

Boston—Can treatment of hepatitis C infection with new direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) be shortened to less than 12 weeks? Interim results from a recent trial suggest treatment durations of eight or even four weeks may be possible with the right combination of drugs.

Shortened regimens would help contain health care costs, with 12-week courses of new DAAs hovering close to $100,000. Prolonged treatment may also compromise patient adherence to therapy, experts said.

“Optimized regimens may allow an eight-week duration that may be broadly applicable across diverse patient groups,” said Eric Lawitz, MD, vice president of scientific and research development at The Texas Liver Institute, in San Antonio, who led the study. Dr. Lawitz, also clinical professor of medicine at the San Antonio University of Texas Health Science Center, said large randomized trials are needed before changes to clinical practice can be made.

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