Merck’s boceprevir increases cure rate of hepatitis C, study finds

INDIANAPOLIS An investigational drug in late-stage clinical trials increased the cure rate in patients with hepatitis C when added to standard treatments, according to a study conducted at Indiana University.

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine found that adding Merck’s boceprevir to the standard treatment of Merck’s Pegintron (peginterferon alfa-2b) and ribavirin increased the cure rate of the most difficult-to-treat patients by as much as 75% after 48 weeks. Results of the study were published in medical journal The Lancet.

“Both 28- and 48-week boceprevir regimens significantly increased sustained virologic response rates – which is the best definition of a cure we have – compared with the 48-week control,” lead researcher Paul Kwo said . “The 48-week treatment arm with four weeks of peginterferon lead-in and 44 weeks of peginterferon, ribavirin and boceprevir led to the largest improvement over the control group ever reported. That’s very impressive.”