Victrelis Approved for Chronic Hepatitis C

In combination with two other drugs

MONDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Victrelis (boceprevir) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat chronic hepatitis C, in tandem with the two additional drugs, pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin.

Victrelis was evaluated in a pair of clinical trials involving 1,500 adults. Among those who used the three-drug combination, more had a sustained virologic response than people who used pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin alone, the FDA said in a news release. Sustained virologic response was achieved when the hepatitis C virus was no longer detected in the blood six months after stopping treatment.

Some 3.2 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C, the FDA said, citing U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. The viral infection causes inflammation of the liver, which can lead to reduced liver function and liver failure. Most people with the disease have no symptoms until the onset of liver damage, the agency said.

Victrelis is taken three times daily with food. Common adverse reactions include fatigue, anemia, nausea, headache and taste distortion.

The drug is marketed by Merck & Co., based in Whitehouse Station, N.J.

More information

To learn more about hepatitis, visit the CDC.

Scott Roberts

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