Great news for Hep C sufferers! The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has announced today, July 7, 2014, that it has approved the first all-oral hepatitis C treatment. The drug is a combination of daclatasvir and asunaprevir and it treats patients with genotype 1 chronic hep C virus infection and the drug can even treat those with compensated cirrhosis of the liver.
For those who are curious about the drugs, daclatasvir is a powerful pan-genotypic replication complex inhibitor and asunaprevir is a protease inhibitor and these two drugs in this combination is the first ribavirin-free hep C treatment approved in Japan. The great news about this new formula is that it is all-oral.
Statistics have shown that 70% of Japanese people who are living with Hepatitis C have the 1b genotype, this means that 1,2 million people are suffering from this horrible condition. Many of these are older patients who have trouble responding to traditional medicine and therapies. Kazuaki Chayama, MD from the Hiroshima University in Japan said that:
We have a sense of real urgency to treat these patients now.
and that the approval of these two drugs combined:
Offers for the first time a treatment option that addresses many of the unmet needs for our HCV patients.
In Japan, this combined new drug that has been approved today is targeted at people with chronic HCV genotype 1 who may or may not have cirrhosis and who are intolerant to therapy based on interferon. Patients who have failed to respond to interferon-based therapy will also benefit from this new drug.
The conducted study that led to the approval of this drug revealed that 91.9% of the patients achieved SVR24 and 90.9% of those with compensated cirrhosis achieved SVR24 rates. Only 5% of the people who took part in the study had to discontinue therapy due to adverse effects, which is pretty impressive and low. The most common adverse effect of the drug was nasopharyngitis and it was experienced by 30.2%.
The US was ahead of Japan concerning these two drugs, because in February 2014 the Food and Drug Administration approved the asunaprevir combined with daclatasvir for use as therapy in the treatment of the 1b genotype HCV infection.
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