Once again, The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas is able to demonstrate its place at the forefront in the treatment and management of liver disease. In April 2015, at the International Liver Congress in Vienna, a study initiated by our own Dr. Hector E. Nazario was showcased. The study analyzed the safety and efficacy of an all-oral antiviral treatment specifically for chronic Hepatitis C patients who suffer from end-stage renal disease and are also on dialysis.
In the past, it has been difficult to treat chronic Hepatitis C in this particular set of patients due to the poor tolerability and low cure rates of the older drug regimens consisting of ribavirin and interferon injections. While new antiviral therapies that are better tolerated and show higher cure rates of over 90%, including sofosbuvir and simeprevir, have entered the market in the last 18 months, these newly FDA-approved medications are not recommended for this special patient group of chronic Hepatitis C sufferers with renal failure requiring long term dialysis. This is primarily due to a lack of safety and efficacy information.
The study presented by Dr. Nazario and his colleagues attempted to address, as well as help resolve, some of these pressing concerns. In conducting this study, a total of 17 patients with severe kidney failure, most on dialysis, were treated with the combination of sofosbuvir and simeprevir for 12 weeks. The interim results presented at the International Liver Congress indicated these medications were very well tolerated. Cure rates were also comparable to those of patients undergoing Hepatitis C treatment using the same drugs but having normal kidney function. All patients who participated in this study have been cured!
Although the study does need to be reproduced on a larger scale, its findings have already had a huge impact in the national community of physicians that treat chronic Hepatitis C. The influence of this study is proven by its inclusion in the most current guidelines for treatment of chronic Hepatitis C presented by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).
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