Victrelis (boceprevir)- or Incivek (telaprevir)-based triple therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) resulted in low cure rates and high rates of serious side effects among those most in need of treatment: people with cirrhosis, aidsmap reports. Investigators presented findings of a study of 221 people with genotype 1 of the virus at the International Liver Congress, the 48th annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) in Amsterdam.

Participants were treated with either of the two currently available protease inhibitors, Victrelis or Incivek, plus pegylated interferon or ribavirin for 48 weeks. All participants had failed a previous therapy. Those taking Incivek took the triple regimen for 12 weeks followed by 36 weeks of just interferon and ribavirin. Those taking Victrelis took the drug for four weeks alone and then added the other two drugs for an additional 44 weeks.

Cure rates were low, with only 41 percent of those who took Victrelis and 40 percent of those who took Incivek achieving a sustained virologic response (SVR, considered a cure) 12 weeks after completing therapy.

Fifty-four percent of those who took Incivek and 51 percent of those who took Victrelis experienced serious adverse events. Twenty-one percent of those on Incivek discontinued treatment because of adverse events compared with 11 percent for Victrelis.

The study had a 2.4 mortality rate in the Incivek arm and a 1.6 percent rate in the Victrelis arm.

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