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Can Hepatitis C Be Cured?

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The New Standard in Hepatitis C Treatment

In 2013, two new drugs were approved by the FDA: Olysio (simeprevir) and Sovaldi (sofosbuvir). Both make important improvements in treatment.

Olysio is used together with interferon and ribavirin. Adding Olysio to the combination clears the hepatitis C virus in up to 80% of people who take it.

Sovaldi is the first drug approved by the FDA to be used without interferon for some types of hepatitis C (which means you won't have the side effects of interferon). But this interferon-free use of Sovaldi is only for people who have "genotype 2" and "genotype 3" hepatitis C. Those types are less common in the U.S. So most Americans with hepatitis C will still need interferon as part of their drug combination.

Sovaldi comes in an easy once-a-day pill. It takes as few as 12 weeks to work, and it cures up to 90% of people who take it.

"Being able to give a treatment that is one pill a day with few side effects is very attractive," Lok says. "This is why everyone is very excited."

Other new interferon-free drugs are expected to come along in the next year or two, she says.

As treatments improve, we're inching toward a widespread cure for hepatitis C. "It's expected that with time, there will be better and better treatments, and no reason why everyone who can take them can't be cured," Thomas says.

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Reviewed on January 27, 2014

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