March 14, 2012

March 14, 2012

Hepatitis C therapy

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and we have almost made it through the middle of another work week. I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It has been another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Some people living with HIV are also living with Hepatitis C. To date, there has been very few treatments for Hep C and they tend to be very toxic. They have been trying to find less toxic ways to help treat the problem. But have you heard the latest news?

Hepatitis C treatment that doesn’t include interferon “is not a dream”, said investigators after results of a study showed that a two-drug oral combination had a rapid and potent effect against the virus.

However, viral load rebounded once treatment was stopped. The study involved hepatitis C mono-infected patients.

Standard hepatitis C therapy consists of pegylated interferon and ribavirin. This therapy doesn’t always work and can cause unpleasant side-effects, many of which are due to interferon.

Two protease inhibitors which work directly against hepatitis C were recently approved. These improve treatment response rates, but pegylated interferon remains an essential component of therapy.

A number of other drugs which work directly against hepatitis C are in development.

Results of a study presented last year showed that a combination consisting of the experimental polymerase inhibitor GS-7977 plus ribavirin worked well in hepatitis C mono-infected patients infected with the easier-to-treat genotypes 2 and 3.

Researchers wanted to see if the combination was safe and effective in people with harder-to-treat genotype 1 infection.

The study participants received 400mg once-daily GS-7977 plus 1000 or 1200mg weight-based ribavirin for 12 weeks. Hepatitis C viral load fell rapidly and stayed suppressed until the end of therapy.

However, it then rebounded in all but one of the participants. This patient had a gene variation (IL28B) associated with a favourable response to hepatitis C therapy and minimal liver fibrosis.

The researchers think that longer duration of therapy, or the addition of another drug that works directly against hepatitis C, could improve response rates.

Hopefully, this helps inform you more about the problem and treatments. But the most important thing is to remember to protect yourself from Hep C. Do not have unprotected sex (even if you already have HIV), do not re-use needles if you are injecting drugs and always think about yourself and your health first.

Have a safe and great Hump Day!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab