December 18, 2013

FDA Approves Breakthrough Hepatitis C Drug

For most of the last 20 years, the standard treatment for hepatitis C involved a grueling year-long program of oral and intravenous medications that caused nausea, fever, headaches and cured fewer than half of patients.  Then, in 2011, two new drugs were approved that raised the cure rate to about 65-75%, when combined with the older treatments.

Hepatitis C Symptoms

Between 3 million and 4 million Americans are estimated to carry the blood-borne virus, though most do not even know they are infected.  Others have tested positive but are waiting for more effective treatments to become available.  Hepatitis C symptoms may not appear until two or three decades after infection, though the virus can cause liver failure, cirrhosis and cancer if left untreated.  An estimated 15,000 people in the U.S. die each year from the disease.

The federal government is urging all baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) to be tested.

Treatments for Hepatitis C

The newly approved medication is taken orally once a day for twelve weeks in combination with the older oral and injectable treatment.  Studies have shown this new medication increases the cure to as high as 90%.


Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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