Fast facts on the new Hep C drugs


"hepatitis" written on board: viral hepatitis

Professor Lisa Nissen, Debbie Rigby and Chris Campbell’s fast facts on the new Hepatitis C drugs…

In Australia it is estimated that more than 230,000 patients were living with chronic hepatitis C in 2012 yet less than 2% were receiving treatment.

  • For many patients disclosing that they have hepatitis C it is not easy and so they may not have told you, or their family or friends[1]
  • There may be a number of your customers who have chronic hepatitis C infection, but you won’t necessarily know who they are.

 

Patients need to know their hepatitis C genotype as different treatments are indicated for different genotypes[2]

  • 54% of chronic hepatitis C patients in Australia have genotype 1 and 37% have genotype 32,[3]
  • Patients are screened for their genotype when they are tested for hepatitis C.

 

There has been an advance from injectable interferon-based treatments for chronic hepatitis C to several new oral treatments registered in Australia for treatment of hepatitis C genotype 1 and 3 infections. These new generation direct acting antiviral (DAA) regimens are oral regimes and do not usually require interferon.2,4

 

Treatment duration for most patients on these new oral hepatitis C treatments is 12 weeks, and virological cure rates of >90%* have been seen in clinical trials for these treatments.4

* Cure defined as <25 IU/mL HCV RNA 12 weeks post end-of-treatment (SVR12)

 

The new oral hepatitis C treatments are generally well tolerated with low rates of serious adverse events and discontinuation due to adverse events.2,4 There are important safety considerations with the new generation DAAs, including important drug-drug interactions that must be considered prior to starting treatment.4

 

Several new oral treatments for hepatitis C have received positive recommendations from the PBAC and some will be reimbursed on the PBS from 1st5

 

Patients who are concerned about their risk of hepatitis C or who wish to discuss their treatment options should be advised to contact their doctor or a liver specialist or call the Hepatitis Australia Helpline 1800 437 222.

 

[1] Fourth National Hepatitis C Strategy 2014–2017. Australian Government Department of Health. 2014.

[2] Hepatitis Australia. Need-To-Know News on Hepatitis C Treatment. May 2015. http://hepatitisaustralia.com/hepatitis-c-facts/treatment-for-hep-c accessed 22nd January 2016

[3] Hepatitis Australia. About Hep C. July 2015. http://www.hepatitisaustralia.com/hepatitis-c-facts/about-hep-c accessed 13th January 2016

4 Asselah T, Boyer N, Saadoun D, et al. Review Article: Direct-acting antivirals for the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection: optimizing current IFN-free treatment and future perspectives. Liver International. 2016;36 (Suppl. S1):47-57.

5 The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for Health, Minister for Aged Care, Minister for Sport. Media Release: Turnbull Govt Invests Over $1B to Cure Hep C. 20 December 2015. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/FAE2B65331456243CA257F20006D4C48/$File/SL-154.pdf accessed 22nd January 2016

 

AbbVie Pty Ltd. Mascot, NSW. AU-HCV-2015-170, January 2016.

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