Objective: To describe chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, including its epidemiology and pathophysiology; review current treatment options for HCV infection; recognize investigational agents being studied as part of interferon-free therapy; and summarize clinical trials for the new agents. Data sources: PubMed for 2004 through August 2014 using search terms hepatitis C, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, sofosbuvir, simeprevir, and as needed specific names of other agents in development during this time; news articles and news releases about company actions with regard to clinical trials and filings for marketing approval in the United States. Study selection: At the discretion of the author based on clinical relevance of study and relevance to national guidelines for HCV therapy. Results: HCV infection is an important medical and public health problem in the United States and worldwide that can cause cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver failure. The advent of newly developed targeted therapies is changing the treatment paradigm for this disease. Although traditional therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin remain therapeutic options, direct-acting agents such as sofosbuvir (Sovaldi-Gilead) and simeprevir (Olysio-Janssen) are producing faster, earlier, and improved treatment response with fewer adverse effects. The combination of anti-HCV agents and the duration of treatment are based on genotype, patient treatment status, and patient risk factors. The dramatic and sustained clearance of the virus with these drugs makes sustained virologic response a reality for patients who are unable to tolerate pegylated interferon. The downside is their high cost, which may make them economically unsustainable. However, for patients infected with HCV, the potential for a cure and improved quality of life may now be a reality. Conclusion: HCV, a well-known blood-borne disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, can be effectively and safely treated with new anti-HCV agents such as SOF. While these new medications are in their early days of real-world practice, they offer hope that cure is truly possible.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (nursing)