Magazine article USA TODAY

New Cure Takes Half the Time

Magazine article USA TODAY

New Cure Takes Half the Time

Article excerpt

Treatment with a telaprevir-based combination regimen for hepatitis C--heretofore a chronic, destructive, and difficult to manage disease--effectively can be shortened to six months in about two-thirds of patients, finds a study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, Calif.

Telaprevir, a drug approved for use against hepatitis C, inhibits replication of the virus. This drug and a similar medication called boceprevir nearly have doubled the number of patients with a sustained response. Among those treated with telaprevir, pegylated interferon, and ribavirin in the study, 72% were cured.

Patients who are clear of the virus within the first four to 12 weeks of therapy can cut their treatment time from 48 weeks down to six months. Besides the considerable benefits to patients of shorter treatment, these findings show that response-guided therapy is a successful strategy.

"This means that, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, we can individualize treatment for patents based on their specific response to the drugs," says Fred Poordad, chief of Hepatology and Liver Transplantation and a senior author on the study. …

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