The cocktails consist of two new drugs: boceprevir from Merck & Co., and telaprevir from Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Each is paired with two drugs used to treat hepatitis C for more than a decade — interferon and ribavirin.
Although interferon and ribavirin have worked in some people, thousands took the drugs only to see the virus return. Adding a third drug appears to significantly boost a person’s chance of beating the disease for good.
” ‘Cure.’ That’s the four-letter word we’ve been somewhat reluctant to use, but we’re increasingly more comfortable using now,” said Gordon, chief of the division of hepatology at Henry Ford Hospital.
Chances of a recurrence are “almost negligible,” Gordon said, citing the sustained response in clinical trials.