HealthDay News — An experimental drug combination of daclatasvir, asunaprevir, and beclabuvir yielded impressive results in ridding the body of hepatitis C, research published in Journal of the American Medical Association suggests.
None of three drugs used — daclatasvir, asunaprevir, and beclabuvir — have been approved by the FDA, but daclatasvir is currently under review.
“Effective and well-tolerated, interferon-free regimens are needed for treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and cirrhosis,” noted Andrew Muir, MD, chief of the division of gastroenterology at Duke, and colleagues.
To evaluate the impact of all-oral combination therapy with daclatasvir, asunaprevir, and beclabuvir, with or without ribavirin, the scientists conducted a study involving patients with cirrhosis related to hepatitis C who had never been treated (n=112) and patients who had undergone unsuccessful treatment for the condition (n=90). The patients were treated between December 2013 and September 2014 at nearly 50 locations across the United States, Canada, France, and Australia.
The patients who benefited from the 12-week dose of three different drugs hadn’t received any previous treatment. The drugs were less effective for those who’d been treated unsuccessfully in the past, reported the investigators. The combination treatment eliminated the virus in 87% of these patients, suggesting their disease could be resistant to treatment.
Therapy was slightly more effective, however, when these patients were given ribavirin. After taking the additional drug, success rates jumped to 9%, according to the researchers. Most of the patients had minor side effects. Nine of them developed serious health issues, but just three were considered related to the treatment.
The study was funded by drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb.