New Drug Combo Superior in HCV GT-1, GT-4

APRIL 14, 2016
Gale Scott
A new direct acting antiviral (DAA) combo for hepatitis c infection is more effective than sofosbuvir and peg-interferon plus ribavirin.

The study is being presented today at the International Liver Congress in Barcelona.

The new combination drug, elbasvir and grazoprevir (Zepatier/Merck) got US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in January.

The product is meant to be taken once a day for 12 to 16 weeks.

It is effective for HCV genotypes 1 and 4.

HCV gt-1 is the most prevalent strain in the US while HCV gt-4 is common in Egypt and Africa.

The study is among the first to directly compare products in the growing arsenal of DAAs, said Jan Sperl, MD, of the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Sperl is the lead author of a study called C-EDGE a randomized, parallel-group trial of patients with HCV gt-1 and gt-4 infections.

The subjects got either 12 weeks of Zepatier or of sofosbuvir/peg-interferon and ribavirin. Those getting Zepatier were either treatment-naive or had failed the sofosbuvir/peg-interferon/ribavirin regimen.

Patients who got Zepatier did better in terms of having fewer side effects but getting the same sustained viral response. The Zepatier group had an SVR12 of 99.2% compared to 90.5% in the group taking the sofosbuvir/peg-interferon/ribavirin combo.

The Zepatier regimen also spared patients the negative side effects that come with interferon, such as low red blood cell count, low white blood cell count, flu symptoms and pyrexia.

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