Most hepatitis C treatments involve months of interferon injections. These treatments have up to a 50% cure rate. However, most of these treatments involve some serious side effects.
Newer hepatitis C treatments involve combinations of oral medications that are taken over the course of several weeks. The oral treatments are usually more well-tolerated by most patients. In 90% of cases, the oral treatments also provide a more sustained cure for purging the hepatitis C virus from the patient’s blood.
The main goal of treating the hepatitis C virus is to reduce the risk of death, end-stage liver disease, as well as other liver-related adverse events. This is done by achieving a virologic cure that is determined by a sustained virologic response, or SVR. To induce a sustained virology response means to produce the complete disappearance of the hepatitis C virus for at least 12 weeks after stopping the treatment.
The type of drug that directly blocks the growth of the hepatitis C virus is called a direct-acting agent (DAA). DAAs are most often used in combinations.
Protease inhibitors are called direct-acting antiviral agents. Protease inhibitors act directly on the hepatitis C virus by inhibiting some of the enzymes and proteins that are necessary for the hepatitis C virus to replicate.
Nucleotide analog polymerase inhibitors are another kind of direct-acting antiviral agents. These ones block the action of proteins used by the hepatitis C virus to produce new viruses.
Another DAA is the NS5A inhibitor. The NS5A inhibitor blocks the action of the hepatitis C virus NS5A protein, which also interferes with the making of new viruses.
Some examples of hepatitis C virus treatments that combine protease inhibitors and nucleotide polymerase inhibitors include:
- boceprevir (Victrelis)
- telaprevir (Incivek)
- simeprevir (Olysio)
- Technivie (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir)
- Viekira Pak (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir/dasabuvir)
- Sovaldi (sofosbuvir)
- Zepatier (grazoprevir and elbasvir)
- Daklinza (daclatasvir)
- Harvoni (sofosbuvir and ledipasvir)
- Mavyret (Glecaprevir and pirbrentasavir)
- Epclusa (Sofosbuvir and velpatasavir)
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