Boceprevir Nets Higher Virologic Response in Hep C
Addition of agent to standard treatment works in both untreated and previously treated patients
WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of boceprevir to the standard treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infection appears to result in a higher rate of sustained virologic response both in patients who have never been treated and those who have received prior treatment, according to two studies published in the March 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Fred Poordad, M.D., from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues randomly assigned 1,097 patients previously untreated for HCV genotype 1 infection to peginterferon-ribavirin for four weeks, and then to placebo plus peginterferon-ribavirin for 44 weeks, boceprevir plus peginterferon-ribavirin for 24 weeks, or boceprevir plus peginterferon-ribavirin for 44 weeks. They found that the addition of boceprevir to peginterferon-ribavirin significantly increased rates of sustained virologic response regardless of treatment duration.
Bruce R. Bacon, M.D., from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and colleagues randomly assigned 403 previously treated HCV patients to peginterferon-ribavirin for four weeks, and then to placebo plus peginterferon-ribavirin for 44 weeks, boceprevir plus peginterferon-ribavirin for 32 weeks, or boceprevir plus peginterferon-ribavirin for 44 weeks. Both groups receiving boceprevir in addition to the standard treatment experienced a significantly higher rate of sustained virologic response than the group that received only peginterferon-ribavirin.
"We observed high rates of a sustained virologic response among black patients and patients with advanced liver disease, who usually have a poor response, representing a clinically significant improvement over the standard of care," Bacon and colleagues write.
Both studies were supported by ScheringPlough (now part of Merck). Several authors of both studies disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, including Schering-Plough and Merck.