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Experimental Drug Combo Shows Success in HCV Treatment

Drug trio could join newer, highly-effective meds such as sofosbuvir, ledipasvir/sofosbuvir

TUESDAY, May 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have released yet another study finding impressive results for an experimental drug combo that aims to rid the body of hepatitis C. The study is published in the May 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In this case, a combination of three drugs in the pipeline -- daclatasvir, asunaprevir, and beclabuvir -- was studied. None of these drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but daclatasvir is currently under FDA review, according to a Duke news release.

Andrew Muir, M.D., chief of the division of gastroenterology at Duke, and colleagues included 112 patients with cirrhosis related to hepatitis C who were never treated, as well as 90 who had undergone unsuccessful treatment for the condition. The patients were treated between December 2013 and September 2014 at nearly 50 locations across the United States, Canada, France, and Australia. All of the participants had genotype 1 hepatitis.

The patients who benefited from the 12-week dose of three different drugs hadn't received any previous treatment. The researchers found the drugs were less effective for those who'd been treated unsuccessfully in the past. The combination treatment eliminated the virus in 87 percent of these patients, suggesting their disease could be resistant to treatment. Therapy was slightly more effective, however, when these patients were given ribavirin. After taking the additional drug, success rates jumped to 93 percent, according to the researchers. Most of the patients had minor side effects. Nine of them developed serious health issues, but just three were considered related to the treatment.

The study was funded by drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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