FDA approves combination hepatitis C treatment

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com December 06 2002 1:00 AM ET

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved Roche's hepatitis C treatment that combines the company's drug Pegasys, an interferon-alpha compound approved separately by the FDA in October, and the antiviral drug ribavirin, marketed by Roche as Copegus. Combining inteferon and ribavirin has been the traditional hepatitis C treatment for several years, but previously available forms of interferon-alpha had to be injected three times per week. Pegasys, a long-lasting form of interferon, is injected only once a week. The FDA approved Roche's combination treatment after reviewing data that showed the once-a-week injections, when coupled with Copegus, were more effective in lowering hepatitis C viral levels than the standard combination therapy. Roche also is currently testing Pegasys for the possible treatment of hepatitis B.