Repurposing of the antihistamine chlorcyclizine and related compounds for treatment of hepatitis C virus infection—S He et al.—Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief

Source:  Sci Transl Med. 2015 Apr 8;7(282):282ra49. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3010286

Results and Conclusions
The article discussed how a common and cheap generic antihistamine drug—chlorcylclizine HCL—could be used to treat hepatitis C.  In cell studies it was found that cholorcyclizine had antiviral effects against the hepatitis C virus.  The antiviral effect was also synergistic with other hepatitis C drugs including telaprevir, boceprevir, sofosbuvir, daclatasvir, and cyclosporine and importantly without any toxic effect to cells.    

The Bottom Line
There have been many medications that have been developed to treat certain conditions, some of their properties, and even some of the side effects help with other conditions.  An example would be mirtazapine.  It is approved to treat major depressive disorder, but one of the side effects is sleepiness.  It was found that when taken in small doses in the evening that it helped to treat insomnia.  Another example is propranolol that is approved to treat high blood pressure.  Taken at a lower dose, off-label, it reduced anxiety in people who suffer from stage fright and other anxieties such as fear of public speaking.

Editorial Comment
It is way too early to tell if chlorcyclizine will be an effective therapy to treat hepatitis C. Chlorcylclizine with and without ribavirin is currently in a phase 1 clinical trial to treat hepatitis C. There is more information available about chlorcyclizine’s clinical trial information at Type in “chlorcylclizine” or the trial identifier NCT02118012

It is being conducted by the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.