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Hepatitis C Regimen Approved for HIV Patients

300,000 Americans infected with both

MONDAY, Feb. 28, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the hepatitis C drugs Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a) combined with Copegus (ribavirin) to treat people co-infected with HIV, according to Pegasys' maker, Hoffman-LaRoche Pharmaceuticals.

Pegasys, approved in 2002, is the most prescribed hepatitis C drug in the United States, the company said. Some 30 percent of Americans with HIV also are infected with hepatitis C, the two most prevalent blood-borne infections in the country, Hoffman-LaRoche said in a statement.

Hepatitis C is an often fatal, progressive liver disease that's typically spread by the use of shared drug needles and by sexual contact, two methods that also can lead to the spread of the virus that causes AIDS.

Some 300,000 Americans are infected with both viruses, the company said. A spokesman said hepatitis C progresses much more quickly to liver failure in people who have HIV.

To learn more about co-infection with both HIV and hepatitis C, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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