TUESDAY, Oct. 14, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a pre-filled interferon pen as a new way to treat the dangerous hepatitis C virus.
Schering-Plough says its single-dose "Peg-Intron Redipen" is easier to use than the traditional vial and syringe method. Pegylated interferon, combined with ribavirin, is a standard treatment for the virus. The combination has been used on some 300,000 hepatitis C patients worldwide since its introduction in 2001, the company says.
The Redipen should be available in the United States in early 2004, according to a company statement. Side effects of this type of therapy can include fatigue, myalgia, headache, fever and chills. Patients should also be monitored for signs of severe depression or suicidal behavior, which have been associated with the therapy, the company says.
Hepatitis C is a primary cause of liver disease and is often fatal.