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EMA approved new drugs: telaprevir and boceprevir
  1. Mark Nolan
  1. Correspondence to Mark Nolan; friendofpills{at}

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According to the European Association for the Study of the Liver, hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease in the world, with about 3% of the population infected, many unknowingly. Most new cases of HCV are transmitted through intravenous or nasal drug use and to a lesser degree medical or blood transfusions. The standard of care for people with chronic HCV is pegylated interferon and ribavirin. HCV has been categorised into six genotypes (1–6), with the majority of cases being genotype 1. Typical treatment duration for HCV should be 48 weeks for type 1 and 24 weeks for types 2 and 3.

Telaprevir would seem to be the preferred product of the two medications. The telaprevir formulation has a few advantages compared with boceprevir. Boceprevir has to be stored in the refrigerator and patients have to take six more tablets per day. In addition, the duration of treatment for boceprevir requires it to be used for the full 48 weeks compared with just 12 weeks for telaprevir. Both of these medications are the start of groundbreaking advances in the treatment of HCV, with second-generation products already in the works! The second generation are predicted to decrease the treatment time of HCV to just 12 weeks. In the meantime, these products will bring a …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.