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      Changing the face of hepatitis C management – the design and development of sofosbuvir

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          Abstract

          The availability of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy has launched a new era in the management of chronic hepatitis C. Sofosbuvir, a uridine nucleotide analog that inhibits the hepatitis C RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, is the backbone of chronic hepatitis C therapy. Acting at the catalytic site of the polymerase, sofosbuvir is highly potent in suppressing viral replication and has a high genetic barrier to resistance. Sofosbuvir is effective across all hepatitis C genotypes, and is a mainstay of interferon-free combination therapy. In Phase II and III studies, genotype 1 patients who took sofosbuvir in combination with another DAA such as the NS3-4A protease inhibitor, simeprevir, or the NS5A replication complex inhibitors, ledipasvir or daclatasvir, achieved a sustained virologic response rate of over 90%. Harvoni ®, a combination tablet of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir, dosed once daily is recommended for 24 weeks for treatment-experienced genotype 1 patients with cirrhosis, but 12 weeks of therapy is sufficient for all other populations. While genotype 2 (12 weeks or 16 weeks) and treatment-naïve genotype 3 patients (24 weeks) have excellent response rates with sofosbuvir and ribavirin, treatment-experienced cirrhotic genotype 3 patients may need the addition of another DAA such as daclatasvir. Sofosbuvir is efficacious in special populations such as HIV–hepatitis C virus-coinfected patients and liver transplant recipients and has already made a profound impact in these groups. Since it is renally eliminated, patients with advanced kidney disease or on dialysis must await dosing recommendations. Sofosbuvir-based regimens appear to be well tolerated with headache and fatigue being the most common side effects. The opportunity to cure patients with hepatitis C with sofosbuvir combination therapy is likely to change the future for our patients, particularly if the emphasis shifts to identifying those patients unaware that they are infected and providing affordable access to treatment.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Global epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection: new estimates of age-specific antibody to HCV seroprevalence.

          In efforts to inform public health decision makers, the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors 2010 (GBD2010) Study aims to estimate the burden of disease using available parameters. This study was conducted to collect and analyze available prevalence data to be used for estimating the hepatitis C virus (HCV) burden of disease. In this systematic review, antibody to HCV (anti-HCV) seroprevalence data from 232 articles were pooled to estimate age-specific seroprevalence curves in 1990 and 2005, and to produce age-standardized prevalence estimates for each of 21 GBD regions using a model-based meta-analysis. This review finds that globally the prevalence and number of people with anti-HCV has increased from 2.3% (95% uncertainty interval [UI]: 2.1%-2.5%) to 2.8% (95% UI: 2.6%-3.1%) and >122 million to >185 million between 1990 and 2005. Central and East Asia and North Africa/Middle East are estimated to have high prevalence (>3.5%); South and Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Andean, Central, and Southern Latin America, Caribbean, Oceania, Australasia, and Central, Eastern, and Western Europe have moderate prevalence (1.5%-3.5%); whereas Asia Pacific, Tropical Latin America, and North America have low prevalence (<1.5%). The high prevalence of global HCV infection necessitates renewed efforts in primary prevention, including vaccine development, as well as new approaches to secondary and tertiary prevention to reduce the burden of chronic liver disease and to improve survival for those who already have evidence of liver disease. Copyright © 2012 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
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            The prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in the United States, 1999 through 2002.

            Defining the primary characteristics of persons infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) enables physicians to more easily identify persons who are most likely to benefit from testing for the disease. To describe the HCV-infected population in the United States. Nationally representative household survey. U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population. 15,079 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2002. All participants provided medical histories, and those who were 20 to 59 years of age provided histories of drug use and sexual practices. Participants were tested for antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV) and HCV RNA, and their serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels were measured. The prevalence of anti-HCV in the United States was 1.6% (95% CI, 1.3% to 1.9%), equating to an estimated 4.1 million (CI, 3.4 million to 4.9 million) anti-HCV-positive persons nationwide; 1.3% or 3.2 million (CI, 2.7 million to 3.9 million) persons had chronic HCV infection. Peak prevalence of anti-HCV (4.3%) was observed among persons 40 to 49 years of age. A total of 48.4% of anti-HCV-positive persons between 20 and 59 years of age reported a history of injection drug use, the strongest risk factor for HCV infection. Of all persons reporting such a history, 83.3% had not used injection drugs for at least 1 year before the survey. Other significant risk factors included 20 or more lifetime sex partners and blood transfusion before 1992. Abnormal serum ALT levels were found in 58.7% of HCV RNA-positive persons. Three characteristics (abnormal serum ALT level, any history of injection drug use, and history of blood transfusion before 1992) identified 85.1% of HCV RNA-positive participants between 20 and 59 years of age. Incarcerated and homeless persons were not included in the survey. Many Americans are infected with HCV. Most were born between 1945 and 1964 and can be identified with current screening criteria. History of injection drug use is the strongest risk factor for infection.
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              Ledipasvir and sofosbuvir for 8 or 12 weeks for chronic HCV without cirrhosis.

              High rates of sustained virologic response were observed among patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who received 12 weeks of treatment with the nucleotide polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir combined with the NS5A inhibitor ledipasvir. This study examined 8 weeks of treatment with this regimen. In this phase 3, open-label study, we randomly assigned 647 previously untreated patients with HCV genotype 1 infection without cirrhosis to receive ledipasvir and sofosbuvir (ledipasvir-sofosbuvir) for 8 weeks, ledipasvir-sofosbuvir plus ribavirin for 8 weeks, or ledipasvir-sofosbuvir for 12 weeks. The primary end point was sustained virologic response at 12 weeks after the end of therapy. The rate of sustained virologic response was 94% (95% confidence interval [CI], 90 to 97) with 8 weeks of ledipasvir-sofosbuvir, 93% (95% CI, 89 to 96) with 8 weeks of ledipasvir-sofosbuvir plus ribavirin, and 95% (95% CI, 92 to 98) with 12 weeks of ledipasvir-sofosbuvir. As compared with the rate of sustained virologic response in the group that received 8 weeks of ledipasvir-sofosbuvir, the rate in the 12-week group was 1 percentage point higher (97.5% CI, -4 to 6) and the rate in the group that received 8 weeks of ledipasvir-sofosbuvir with ribavirin was 1 percentage point lower (95% CI, -6 to 4); these results indicated noninferiority of the 8-week ledipasvir-sofosbuvir regimen, on the basis of a noninferiority margin of 12 percentage points. Adverse events were more common in the group that received ribavirin than in the other two groups. No patient who received 8 weeks of only ledipasvir-sofosbuvir discontinued treatment owing to adverse events. Ledipasvir-sofosbuvir for 8 weeks was associated with a high rate of sustained virologic response among previously untreated patients with HCV genotype 1 infection without cirrhosis. No additional benefit was associated with the inclusion of ribavirin in the regimen or with extension of the duration of treatment to 12 weeks. (Funded by Gilead Sciences; ION-3 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01851330.).
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2015
                24 April 2015
                : 9
                : 2367-2374
                Affiliations
                Department of Medicine, Center for Liver Diseases and Transplantation, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Andrew S deLemos, Department of Medicine, Center for Liver Diseases and Transplantation, Carolinas Medical Center, 1025 Morehead Medical Drive, Suite 600, Charlotte, NC 28204, USA, Tel +1 704 446 4849, Fax +1 704 446 4877, Email andrew.deLemos@ 123456carolinas.org

                *These authors contributed equally to this work

                Article
                dddt-9-2367
                10.2147/DDDT.S65255
                4422286
                25987834
                © 2015 Noell et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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