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Saturday, 20 September, 2014
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Treatment for Hepatitis C

It is now 20 years since people with haemophilia started to become aware that Hepatitis C was a problem in our community. Since the early 1990’s, three different regimes of treatment have been used. The first treatment used was Interferon, which had a very low success rate in people with haemophilia. The second treatment was a combination of Interferon and Ribavirin. The third generation of treatment was a Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin. The pegylation of the Interferon meant that the Interferon could be injected on a once a week basis which resulted in a more constant level of Interferon in the blood. This treatment had a success rate of approximately 80% for those with Genotype 2 or 3 but, unfortunately, a much lower success rate approaching only 40% for people with haemophilia with Genotype 1 and 4. It was clear that in order to increase the possibility of successful treatment for Genotype 1 an additional drug was required. These new drugs called Protease Inhibitors are now licensed in Ireland for use in the treatment of Hepatitis C. There are two Protease Inhibitors licensed – Telaprevir and Boceprevir. The new treatment regime will consist of one of these used in conjunction with Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin. This combination therapy is designed for use with Genotype 1 and will require either 6 months or 12 months of therapy. The clinical trial results with both Telaprevir and Boceprevir have been positive and the results look very exciting and promising. It appears that Hepatitis C can be cleared (known as a Sustained Virological Response) in 70 – 90% of people with Genotype 1. In the view of the Hepatologists, the Infectious Disease Consultants and the National Haemophilia Director, Dr. Barry White, now is the opportune time for people with haemophilia who have Hepatitis C to consider treatment or retreatment.

 

Brian O’Mahony
  Chief Executive

Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2014