NEJM Study: New Interferon-Free Combination Shows Promise in Hepatitis C Treatment

April 14, 20014—A study reported in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine shows great promise for the use of a novel interferon-free combination regimen in the treatment of hepatitis C infection,” said study co-author, Samuel H. Sigal, MD, director of clinical hepatology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver. Over time, it can lead to serious liver damage, including the development of cirrhosis and liver cancer. Historically, the treatment of hepatitis C has included interferon, a medication associated with severe side effects. For many patients, this treatment has been ineffective or difficult to tolerate.

Dr. Sigal and others reported the results of a new interferon-free combination of medications for patients who had hepatitis C genotype 1, did not have cirrhosis, and had not previously been treated. This new treatment regimen included a protease inhibitor called ABT-450 plus two other inhibitors of the virus—ombitasvir, a NS5A inhibitor, and dasabuvir, a polymerase inhibitor—with ribavirin. The study results showed that the combination therapy was highly effective, yielding a response rate of 96.2%. In addition, only 0.6% of patients were unable to tolerate this therapy.

"This interferon-free treatment combination [ABT-450 plus ombitasvir and dasabuvir with ribavirin] is extremely promising as an effective and safe therapeutic option for people who have hepatitis C infection,” Dr. Sigal concluded.

Source: Feld JJ, Kowdley KV, Coakley E, Sigal S, et al. Treatment of HCV with ABT-450/r–ombitasvir and dasabuvir with ribavirin. N Engl J Med. April 11, 2014. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1315722.