Gastroenterology clinic

New treatments for hepatitis C: the protease inhibitors

Matthew T Kitson, Stuart K Roberts



The first-generation hepatitis C virus protease inhibitors telaprevir and boceprevir recently became available in Australia for treating chronic genotype 1 hepatitis C. They significantly improve treatment success rates.

Article Extract

  • Over 200,000 people in Australia are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is a leading cause of hepatic cirrhosis and liver cancer, and the most common indication for liver transplantation in Australia.
  • To date, standard of care therapy for chronic hepatitis C in Australia is peginterferon plus ribavirin. Treatment duration depends on viral genotype: HCV genotype 1, the most common genotype, requires 48 weeks of treatment, and HCV genotypes 2 and 3 require 24 weeks of treatment.
  • Sustained virological response, which is defined as a negative HCV RNA result on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing six months after therapy, is associated with a reduced risk of disease progression and improved survival.