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New treatments for genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C – focus on simeprevir

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      Abstract

      Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection causes end-stage liver diseases and hepato cellular carcinoma. In the USA, Canada, and Japan, simeprevir – one of the second-generation HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitors – in combination with peginterferon α-2a or 2b plus ribavirin has recently been approved for HCV genotype 1-infected patients and is now used in daily clinical practice. This review summarizes the mechanism of action of simeprevir and the results of clinical trials of simeprevir and peginterferon plus ribavirin for HCV genotype 1 patients. In general, the simeprevir and peginterferon plus ribavirin treatment is highly effective and its adverse events are similar to those of peginterferon plus ribavirin only, the exception being milder, reversible jaundice. In the near future, the development of interferon-free regimens with simeprevir is expected. Careful attention should be paid to new results of clinical trials with simeprevir.

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      Natural history of chronic hepatitis C.

      Much controversy surrounds the issue of the natural history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Many authorities view the disease as inexorably progressive with a high probability of advancing over time to cirrhosis and occasionally hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and, therefore, likely to be responsible for causing death. Others regard chronic hepatitis C as having a variable outcome, the majority of infected persons not dying from the disease, but more likely from the comorbid conditions that so often accompany infection by this agent, or from more common medical conditions. Disagreements probably derive from the manner of conduct of the study and the populations studied. Efforts to determine natural history are handicapped by the primary characteristics of the disease, namely that its onset rarely is recognized and its course is prolonged exceedingly. Thus, different outcomes have come from retrospective rather than from prospective studies, but both have concluded that at least 20% of chronically infected adults develop cirrhosis within 20 years. More recent studies that used a retrospective/prospective approach, focusing largely on young infected individuals, have produced different results. Among these young people, particularly young women, spontaneous resolution of the viral infection is more common than previously thought and cirrhosis has been identified in 5% or fewer of them. The major failing for all groups studied, young and old, is that natural history studies have rarely exceeded the first 2 decades, so that outcome beyond this time is not known, other than through modeling. Several host-related and extraneous factors probably affect the natural history.
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        Peginterferon Alfa-2a plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C virus infection in HIV-infected patients.

        Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is highly prevalent and is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality among persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We compared the efficacy and safety of pegylated interferon alfa-2a (peginterferon alfa-2a) plus either ribavirin or placebo with those of interferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin for the treatment of chronic HCV infection in patients who were also infected with HIV. A total of 868 persons who were infected with both HIV and HCV and who had not previously been treated with interferon or ribavirin were randomly assigned to receive one of three regimens: peginterferon alfa-2a (180 microg per week) plus ribavirin (800 mg per day), peginterferon alfa-2a plus placebo, or interferon alfa-2a (3 million IU three times a week) plus ribavirin. Patients were treated for 48 weeks and followed for an additional 24 weeks. The primary end point was a sustained virologic response (defined as a serum HCV RNA level below 50 IU per milliliter at the end of follow-up, at week 72). The overall rate of sustained virologic response was significantly higher among the recipients of peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin than among those assigned to interferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin (40 percent vs. 12 percent, P<0.001), or peginterferon alfa-2a plus placebo (40 percent vs. 20 percent, P<0.001). Among patients infected with HCV genotype 1, the rates of sustained virologic response were 29 percent with peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin, 14 percent with peginterferon alfa-2a plus placebo, and 7 percent with interferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin. The corresponding rates among patients infected with HCV genotype 2 or 3 were 62 percent, 36 percent, and 20 percent. Neutropenia and thrombocytopenia were more common among patients treated with regimens that contained peginterferon alfa-2a, and anemia was more common among patients treated with regimens containing ribavirin. Among patients infected with both HIV and HCV, the combination of peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin was significantly more effective than either interferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin or peginterferon alfa-2a monotherapy. Copyright 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society
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          Once-daily simeprevir (TMC435) with pegylated interferon and ribavirin in treatment-naïve genotype 1 hepatitis C: the randomized PILLAR study.

          The phase IIb, double-blind, placebo-controlled PILLAR trial investigated the efficacy and safety of two different simeprevir (SMV) doses administered once-daily (QD) with pegylated interferon (Peg-IFN)-α-2a and ribavirin (RBV) in treatment-naïve patients with HCV genotype 1 infection. Patients were randomized to one of five treatments: SMV (75 or 150 mg QD) for 12 or 24 weeks or placebo, plus Peg-IFN and RBV. Patients in the SMV arms stopped all treatment at week 24 if response-guided therapy (RGT) criteria were met; patients not meeting RGT continued with Peg-IFN and RBV until week 48, as did patients in the placebo control group. Sustained virologic response (SVR) rates measured 24 weeks after the planned end of treatment (SVR24) were 74.7%-86.1% in the SMV groups versus 64.9% in the control group (P < 0.05 for all comparisons [SMV versus placebo], except SMV 75 mg for 24 weeks). Rapid virologic response (HCV RNA <25 IU/mL undetectable at week 4) was achieved by 68.0%-75.6% of SMV-treated and 5.2% of placebo control patients. According to RGT criteria, 79.2%-86.1% of SMV-treated patients completed treatment by week 24; 85.2%-95.6% of these subsequently achieved SVR24. The adverse event profile was generally similar across the SMV and placebo control groups, with the exception of mild reversible hyperbilirubinemia, without serum aminotransferase abnormalities, associated with higher doses of SMV. SMV QD in combination with Peg-IFN and RBV significantly improves SVR rates, compared with Peg-IFN and RBV alone, and allows the majority of patients to shorten their therapy duration to 24 weeks. © 2013 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan
            Author notes
            Correspondence: Tatsuo Kanda, Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8677, Japan, Tel +81 43 226 2086, Fax +81 43 226 2088, Email kandat-cib@ 123456umin.ac.jp ; kanda2t@ 123456yahoo.co.jp
            Journal
            Ther Clin Risk Manag
            Ther Clin Risk Manag
            Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
            Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
            Dove Medical Press
            1176-6336
            1178-203X
            2014
            24 May 2014
            : 10
            : 387-394
            4043814 10.2147/TCRM.S50170 tcrm-10-387
            © 2014 Kanda 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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