Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hepatitis Health Center

Font Size

FDA Approves New Hepatitis C Combo Treatment

WebMD Health News

Aug. 9, 2001 (Washington) -- The 4 million hepatitis C patients in the U.S. now have another weapon in their arsenal to combat the liver-attacking disease.

The FDA recently approved the combination of two drugs that are already available by themselves as treatments for hepatitis C: PEG-Intron and Rebeto. Schering-Plough makes both drugs, which are more effective when used in combination than when used alone.

Company spokesman Bob Consalvo tells WebMD that the combo should be available this fall.

Hepatitis C infection, which usually happens through contact with infected blood, kills 8,000 to 10,000 people annually in the U.S., according to the FDA. Most of those infected do not develop severe liver disease and some may not need treatment. About 10-20% of patients develop cirrhosis or scarring of the liver and 1-5% develop liver cancer.

Rebetol had previously been used with another drug, Intron-A, to treat hepatitis C, but clinical trials found the new Rebetol/PEG-Intron combo to be more effective, the FDA said.

More than half of the patients, 52%, who received the PEG-Intron combination had undetectable levels of hepatitis C virus in their blood 6 months after the drugs were stopped, the agency said. This was true for just less than half of the patients, 46%, who received the Intron A combo.

In addition, the PEG-Intron combination was more effective than the paired Intron A product in patients who had a strain of the virus known as genotype 1 that is particularly difficult to treat.

Patients must take the combo for one year, and one of the advantages of the new one is that PEG-Intron, which is administered by injection, only has to be given once a week, whereas Intron A has to be given 3 times a week, Consalvo says. The other half of the combo, Rebetol, comes in pill form and has to be taken daily.

The PEG-Intron combo comes with the same side effects as the Intron A combo, which include flu-like symptoms, and psychiatric disorders, such as depression and suicidal behavior, Consalvo says.

Today on WebMD

Hepatitus C virus
Types, symptoms and treatments.
liver illustration
Myths and facts about this essential organ.
woman eating apple
What you need to know.
doctor and patient
What causes it?
Hepatitis C Treatment
Syringes and graph illustration
liver illustration
passport, pills and vaccine
Scientist looking in microscope
Fatty Liver Disease
Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
Picture Of The Liver
Image Collection