As you know, certain drugs can sometimes cause a rash. Some of our readers may have had this experience with penicillin as a child. But despite the risk of a rash, we continue to use penicillin as an antibiotic because it is so valuable in curing bacterial infections, such as strep throat.
Remember the drug interactions that were reported between the HCV protease inhibitor Victrelis (boceprevir) and HIV drugs? In a previous blog entry, I mentioned that there were some really important drug interactions that led to lower blood levels of Victrelis and lower blood levels of some HIV drugs, such as Reyataz (atazanavir). The same is true for Incivek (telaprevir). There are a lot of drugs that should not be combined with Incivek, such as Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and Prezista (darunavir, TMC114).
I have said for a long time that once we got some specially targeted hepatitis C (HCV) drugs, HIV/HCV-coinfected patients would finally have a great chance at an HCV cure. Well, the news from CROI 2012 seems to suggest just that.
News from the latest major HIV research conference continues to look great for hepatitis C (HCV) cures. More results from a Victrelis (boceprevir) treatment trial were unveiled at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2012) in Seattle, Wash. The researchers showed results of treatment 12 weeks after 95 HIV-infected patients with HCV genotype 1 infection had finished 48 weeks of treatment with either a) PEG interferon plus ribavirin plus placebo (i.e., dual therapy, which has been the standard of treatment for many years) or b) PEG interferon plus ribavirin plus Victrelis (i.e., triple therapy).
In April of 2010, an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (of which I am a member) urged approval of the hepatitis C (HCV) protease inhibitor Victrelis (boceprevir) for the treatment of patients with HCV infection. At the same time, we also requested more studies on drug interactions between Victrelis and HIV drugs in preparation for treatment studies in the HIV/HCV-coinfected patient.
The news about hepatitis C (HCV) treatment in the HIV-positive patient with genotype 1 infection continues to be exciting. As a reader of TheBody.com you have probably already seen my blog entry on the use of Incivek (telaprevir) with pegylated interferon (PEG) and ribavirin (RBV), which has some great early "on-treatment" results.
What a great year 2011 was for news about hepatitis C virus treatment! The last major meeting of the year featuring hepatitis research, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) meeting (referred to as the "Liver Meeting"), was filled with breathtaking data on what promises to be an amazing pipeline of new HCV drugs.
Over the years, we have been aware that treatment responses have been lower in HIV/HCV coinfected patients compared to those with HCV alone. This has been particularly true of those who had an HCV genotype 1 infection, where response rates have ranged from 25 to 35 percent with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. It has also been discouraging to see patients experience significant side effects with these two medications over months of treatment, only to see their virus rebound after treatment is stopped. I have seen many brave patients continue on despite severe fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss and other side effects because they so desperately wanted to be cured of their HCV infection.