September 2015 Mid-Month Edition - SNAPSHOTS —Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief




This month’s Snapshots is about recently published studies on all-oral therapies to treat hepatitis C in people coinfected with HIV.  We have really come a long way in such a short period of time with medications to treat a population in high need of effective therapies.    
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Article: Ledipasvir and Sofosbuvir for HCV in Patients Coinfected with HIV-1—S Naggie et al.

Source:  New England Journal of Medicine DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1501315

Results and Conclusions
The study included 335 patients coinfected with HIV-1 and hepatitis C genotype 1 or 4.  The median age was 52 yo (48-58 yo).  The majority of patients were White 61% (203 pts) and Black 34% (115 pts), male 82% (276), genotype 1a 75%, genotype 4 two percent, cirrhosis 20%, median CD 4+ cell count 628 (469-823), treatment naïve 45%, previously treated 55%. The treatment period was 12 weeks.  Note: I am not including the genotype 4 patients since there were only 8 patients.  

The Bottom Line
The cure rates were 96% for genotype 1a, and 96% for genotype 1b. The cure rates were similar regardless of prior response or degree of liver damage.  The most common side effects were headache, fatigue and diarrhea.  No patients discontinued treatment due to side effects.

Editorial Comment
These results are excellent across subtypes (1a/1b), races, and prior treatment responses.  Gilead has filed for marketing approval with the Food and Drug Administration.  The American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) recommend Harvoni as a treatment for HCV for people coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C.

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Article: Efficacy and safety of grazoprevir (MK-5172) and elbasvir (MK-8742) in patients with hepatitis C virus and HIV co-infection (C-EDGE CO-INFECTION): a non-randomised, open-label trial—J K Rockstroh, et al

Source:  The Lancet HIV Volume 2, No. 8, e319–e327, August 2015

Results and Conclusions
The study was conducted in people with HIV/HCV coinfection to evaluate grazoprevir/elbasvir (one pill, once-a-day) to treat HCV genotype 1, 4, and 6. The treatment period was 12 weeks. There were 218 patients in the phase 3 trial.  The trial was conducted in Europe, the United States and Australia.

The Bottom Line
The overall cure rate was 96% (210 of 218 patients).  All patients who had cirrhosis were cured.  The most common side effects were fatigue, headache and nausea. No patients discontinued treatment due to side effects.

Editorial Comment
The high cure rates and fewer side effects plus no treatment discontinuation due to treatment-related side effects equals very good news for patients.

The once-a-day combination of grazoprevir/elbasvir when approved is going to be a welcome addition to the other therapies to treat hepatitis C in people who are HIV and HCV coinfected.  

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Article: Daclatasvir plus Sofosbuvir for HCV in Patients Coinfected with HIV-1—D L Wyles et al.  
Source:  New England Journal of Medicine DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1503153

Results and Conclusions
There were 3 different treatment groups. All the groups received daclatasvir plus sofosbuvir. Note: Since there was a small number of genotype 2, 3, and 4 patients—I omitted these results.  For this article I am just listing the genotype 1 results.    

The Bottom Line
The patient characteristics, treatment durations and cure rates are included below:


  1. Naïve (untreated patients): 101 patients; median age 52 yo; male sex 91%; race: White 65%, Black 30%; genotype 1a: 70%, genotype 1b: 12%; cirrhosis 9%; median CD4+ count 520 (122-1147). Treatment duration = 12 weeks. Cure rate = 96%
  2. Naïve (untreated patients): 50 patients; median age 51 yo; male 84%; race White 56%, Black 38%; Genotype 1a 70%, Genotype 1b 12%; cirrhosis 10%; treatment duration = 8 weeks.  Cure rate = 76%
  3. Treatment Experienced:  52 patients; median age 57 yo; male 83%; race White 60%, Black 38%; genotype 1a 63%, genotype 1b 21%; cirrhosis 29%; treatment duration =12 weeks.  Cure rate = 98%

The most common side effects were fatigue, nausea, and headache.  No patient discontinued due to side effects.

Editorial Comment
The 12-week treatment groups had good cure rates as opposed to the 8-week treatment response group.  The treatment-experienced group #3 with a 38% Black population and a relatively high cirrhotic population achieved nearly perfect cure rates. The drawback of this combination is going to be the high price tag of the combination of these two drugs.

Note:  Another issue with treating hepatitis C in people with HIV is the potential drug-drug interactions with HIV medications.  For more information visit the AASLD/IDSA  HCV Guidelines http://www.hcvguidelines.org/full-report-view.

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