(Revised June 5, 2014)
Drugs in Development
The drugs to treat hepatitis C have seen impressive advances, given that the virus was only identified in 1989. However, current treatment options that contain interferon can have many undesired side effects and even though we have very effective treatments, not everyone can be cured. There is a lot of research underway to develop new and better HCV treatment options without some of the serious side effects of interferon and ribavirin based therapies that will cure everyone infected with the hepatitis C virus.
There are currently many different interferon-free and or ribavirin-free therapies that have completed Phase 3 clinical studies The pharmaceutical companies have submitted their data to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing approval. These therapies include pills that stop the hepatitis C virus from replicating—direct acting antivirals (DAAs) also called HCV inhibitors.
- Genotype 1a & 1b: Gilead’s Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), ledipasvir
- Genotype 1a & 1b: AbbVie’s 3 Drug Combination—ABT-450/r, ombitasvir and dasabuvir
- Genotype 1a & 1b: Gilead’s Sovaldi plus Janssen’s Olysio.
- Genotype 1b: BMS’s daclatasvir, asunaprevir
The drug combinations above are interferon-free therapies that have fewer side effects, shorter treatment durations and higher cure rates. FDA approval is expected at the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015.
Note: It is expected that with the approval of interferon-free therapies HCV medical providers will be overwhelmed with HCV patients seeking treatment. The time for beginning the dialogue with your medical provider is now. There is a great deal of information about how to advocate for treatment on our fact sheet web page.
There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C as there are for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Hepatitis C vaccines will be difficult to develop due to the virus’ different genotypes and its ability to change, or mutate during infection. Some progress is being made, but an effective HCV vaccine is not expected for many years.
- For the most update-to-date information about drugs in development to treat hepatitis C, visit the HCV Advocate News and Pipeline Blog
- HCV Treatment is expensive. There are many patient assistance programs that may provide free drugs or help with insurance co-pay. The HCV Advocate publishes a fact sheet on the various Patient Assistance Programs
- Talk with your medical provider to find out if it is safe to wait for the newer therapies
GET TESTED. GET TREATED. GET CURED.