Hepatitis C in liver transplant patients combination therapy offers quicker, less toxic eradication

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All patients with hepatitis C who receive a liver transplant will eventually infect their new livers. These transplanted organs then require anti-viral treatment before they become severely damaged. But traditional post-transplant hepatitis C therapy can take up to a year, is potentially toxic and can lead to organ rejection.

Now, at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Boston, researchers at Mayo Clinic report that use of two new oral medications post-transplant is safe and beneficial, and requires only 12 weeks of treatment.

Chronic hepatitis C virus is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the United States, affecting more than 3 million individuals. Most infected people have no symptoms of the disease until liver damage from chronic inflammation occurs decades later — which happens to 5-30 percent of infected individuals. Hepatitis C infection accounts for two-thirds of newly diagnosed chronic liver disease cases and 40 percent of liver transplants.

The researchers found that eradication of the virus in the patients was excellent — more effective than the use of interferon and ribavirin — and with much fewer side effects. “We believe use of these drugs, both pre- and post-transplant represents a substantial clinical advance,” Dr. Pungpapong says.

Source by : Science Daily News

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