A new treatment to combat hepatitis C infection, which has been effective in up to 80% of patients afflicted by this disease, has just been approved by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products for use in our country.
Currently, people suffering from chronic hepatitis C - in Spain it is estimated that there are around 700,000 patients - follow a treatment that combines two medicines: ribavirin and alpha pegylated interferon, but it is only effective in half of the patients and, even in these cases, many suffer a relapse later.
The new drug is administered along with conventional therapy and, in the tests performed, has cured 79% of patients who had not received prior treatment, and 84% of those who had suffered a relapse
The telaprevir, the new drug, is administered orally along with conventional therapy and, in the tests performed, it has cured 79% of patients who had not received prior treatment, and 84% of those who had suffered a relapse in the illness.
According to Dr. Rafael Esteban Mur, Head of the Hepatology Service of the Hospital Vall d'Hebrón, in Barcelona, this drug is able to eliminate the virus, which will be a great benefit for patients, since chronic hepatitis C can degenerate into cirrhosis and Liver cancer, both very serious pathologies.
Among the advantages of the new therapy, in addition to its great effectiveness, specialists have stressed that it acts very quickly, so the treatment could last only six months, approximately half of what lasts that has been applied so far .