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Incivek Triple Therapy Looks Simply Great in HIV/HCV-Coinfected Patients

By Barbara McGovern, M.D.

March 28, 2012

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.

If you remember from my prior blog entry, I summarized data on Victrelis (boceprevir). Researchers showed data on HIV/HCV-coinfected patients who still have HCV suppression at 12 weeks after stopping treatment. In this entry, I will discuss similar data on Incivek (telaprevir), the other recently approved HCV protease inhibitor.

For the Incivek study presented at CROI 2012, 60 HIV/HCV-coinfected patients were given either triple therapy (Incivek plus PEG interferon plus ribavirin) or dual therapy (placebo plus PEG interferon plus ribavirin). The 12-week post-treatment data show that 74 percent of patients who got triple therapy had no detectable HCV compared to 45 percent of patients who got dual therapy. Also impressive is the small number of patients on triple therapy whose virus rebounded after treatment discontinuation.

The other good news is that the drug levels for Incivek seemed to be good no matter what HIV cocktail the patient was taking. (This does not mean the drug is safe to take with HIV protease inhibitors, however; remember my previous blog entry on drug interactions, in which I noted that there are only three HIV treatment regimens that are recommended with Incivek.)

No new side effects were seen with the addition of Victrelis than what we already know to be issues: Rash, itching, headache and nausea are common. Anemia was also seen in the blood work; not a new issue, just needs careful follow-up.

If the trend on viral suppression continues to 24 weeks after stopping treatment, it will suggest that these great treatment responses are durable. We will know more about this key time point later this year.

If you have questions about treating HIV/hepatitis C coinfection, Dr. McGovern is available to answer them! Visit our "Ask the Experts" forum on Hepatitis & HIV Coinfection to ask Dr. McGovern your question or browse her archive of answers.

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See Also
More News and Research on Incivek (Telaprevir)

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Making Progress on HCV Treatment in HIV-Infected Patients

Barbara McGovern, M.D., is an associate professor of medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine and an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston. She is a widely published researcher and frequent lecturer on issues pertaining to HIV and coinfections with hepatitis B and hepatitis C. More information about Dr. McGovern is available on her bio page.

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