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Viral Hepatitis

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FAQ: Are the new hepatitis C drugs available at the VA?

for Veterans and the Public

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are the new hepatitis C drugs available at the VA?

Yes. In May 2011, two new drugs were FDA approved for hepatitis C. They are called boceprevir and telaprevir. These new drugs represent the first new drugs for hepatitis C since 2001. They are only to be used in patients with hepatitis C genotype 1 infection. The majority of patients in the U.S. with hepatitis C are genotype 1.

Boceprevir and telaprevir can be prescribed in the VA. Boceprevir can be prescribed on-formulary, and telaprevir can be prescribed with a non-formulary request.

Boceprevir and telaprevir are very similar to each other. They are not used together. Each one can only be used in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin (for a 3-drug regimen). The 3-drug combination has a much higher chance of cure of hepatitis C than the 2-drug regimen of pegylated interferon and ribavirin.

These new medicines for hepatitis C are very exciting and very new. There are many issues to consider between each individual patient and their providers when considering treatment of hepatitis C and each patient should speak individually with their provider about whether they should consider treating their hepatitis C with one of these two new drugs.

Telaprevir and boceprevir are "protease inhibitors"--and protease inhibitors are drugs which are called Direct-Acting Antiviral Agents (DAAs). In addition to telaprevir and boceprevir, there are also other multiple new DAA drugs under investigation. When new drugs become FDA approved, we will update our information to detail the information on any new drug for hepatitis C.