Two New Medications Approved to Treat Hep C:
Olysio (simeprevir) and Sovaldi (sofosbuvir)
Hep C Treatment: Two New Medications Approved
At the end of 2013, two new medications were approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (HCV): Olysio (simeprevir) and Sovaldi (sofosbuvir). These medications represent a significant advance in the treatment of HCV; sofosbuvir allows patients with HCV genotypes 2 and 3 to be treated with an all-oral regimen (eliminating the need for weekly injections of peg-interferon) and simeprevir is the first once-daily protease inhibitor.
The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) recently launched a new website to assist clinicians in using these and other HCV treatments. HCVguidelines.org offers evidenced-based, up-to-date recommendations for the screening, treatment and management of patients with HCV.
Sofosbuvir – to be used in combination with other antivirals – is a nucleotide analog polymerase inhibitor that blocks a specific protein needed by HCV to replicate. Sofosbuvir has been approved to treat HCV genotypes 1, 2, 3, and 4; it should be used in combination with ribavirin (genotypes 2 and 3) or in combination with peg-interferon and ribavirin (genotypes 1 and 4). In addition, a longer course of sofosbuvir/ribavirin can be considered for the treatment of patients who could not tolerate or take an interferon-based treatment regimen, as well as those with hepatocellular carcinoma awaiting liver transplantation, addressing an unmet need in these populations. Detailed U.S. prescribing information for sofosbuvir can be found here…
Simeprevir – the first once-daily protease inhibitor to be approved – and now the third protease inhibitor available to treat HCV; the two others, Victrelis (boceprevir) and Incivek (telaprevir), came on the market in 2011. Simeprevir is to be used as part of an antiviral treatment regimen in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin in patients with HCV genotype 1. It is intended for adults with compensated liver disease, including cirrhosis, who are treatment naive or who have failed prior interferon-based therapy. Detailed U.S. prescribing information for simeprevir can be found here…
Hep C Screening: Make it Routine for Baby Boomers
In addition to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and CDC’s recommendations to screen adults born between 1945 – 1965 for HCV independent of other risk factors, the approval of these new treatments strengthens the case for systematic screening of all baby boomers. With the treatment of HCV becoming less onerous and more effective, millions of Americans approaching retirement age could be protected from the long-term sequelae of chronic HCV infection including cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma. We urge you to routinely offer HCV screening to your baby boomer patients.
Hep C Resources: Refer Patients to Hep C 1-2-3
With systematic testing for HCV there will be an even greater need for easily accessible, accurate information about the disease, its treatment and available support services. Please remember to refer your patients to the American Liver Foundation’s dedicated online information center, Hep C 1-2-3 (www.hepc123.org), which provides comprehensive information on risk factors, treatment and services for people with HCV and their caregivers. Your patients can also speak with a dedicated Hep C information specialist by calling our National Help Line at 800-GO-LIVER (800-465-4837).