The Week in Review: September 29 – October 6, 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017 News Recap: Liver Cancer Two studies on liver cancer in the news last week highlighted the global prevalence and causes of this terrible disease.  The first showed a direct correlation between excess weight and cancer occurrence (including liver cancer) – Cancers linked to excess weight make up 40% of all US diagnoses, study finds, while the second focussed on the global incidence of primary liver cancer. Hepatitis B virus wa...

Viekira Pak safe for patients with HCV, Child-Pugh A cirrhosis

Patients with hepatitis C and Child-Pugh A cirrhosis had similar rates of treatment-related adverse events and lower rates of hepatic decompensation after treatment with Viekira Pak (Holkira Pak in Canada) compared with untreated patients, according to recently published data. However, those with a history of advanced cirrhosis were more likely to experience treatment-related adverse events. “Importantly, many of the events consistent with hepatic decompe

Probable Drug Interaction Between Warfarin and Hepatitis C Therapy

HealthDay News – There is a probable interaction between paritaprevir/ritonavir/ombitasvir+dasabuvir (PrOD) [Holkira Pak / Viekira Pak] plus ribavirin with warfarin, according to a case report published online in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. Gina M. Puglisi, PharmD., from VA Maine Healthcare System in Augusta, and colleagues present the case of a probable interaction between PrOD with ribavirin and warfarin in a 58-year-old patient w

High SVR rates found with AbbVie’s Viekirax and Exviera for hepatitis C – regardless of variants

US pharma major AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) presented new data on Thursday on patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who took Viekirax (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir) and Exviera (dasabuvir)--Holkira or Viekira Pak. Treated with or without ribavirin (RBV), they achieved high sustained virologic response rates at 48 weeks post-treatment (SVR48), regardless of the presence of baseline resistance-associated variants (RAVs). The d...

Current Treatments

Current Treatments as of August 2017 There are many drug combinations available for treating hepatitis C in Canada which are also covered by BC Pharmacare.  Many of the older combinations involve the use of interferon which has many side effects. The list below is of the latest and most effective drugs for treating hepatitis C in Canada. Although there are fewer side effects with the new drugs compared to those of earlier treatments (telaprevir, inte

FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA warns of serious liver injury risk with hepatitis C treatments Viekira Pak and Technivie

Oct 22, 2015The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that hepatitis C treatments Viekira Pak [Holkira Pak in Canada] and Technivie can cause serious liver injury mostly in patients with underlying advanced liver disease. As a result, we are requiring the manufacturer to add new information about this safety risk to the drug labels.Patients taking these medicines should contact their health care professional immediately if they develop fatigue

HEALTH CANADA APPROVES AbbVie Interferon-Free HCV Combo

What a Christmas Present! On December 23, 2014, Health Canada approved AbbVie's new interferon-free hepatitis C combo! HOLKIRA™ PAK (known in the USA as VIEKIRA™ PAK) has an overall 97% success rate for genotype 1 patients in research trials. All patients, even those with compensated cirrhosis, take it for only 12 weeks EXCEPT genotype 1a cirrhotic patients who have had a previous null response to pegylated interferon (pegIFN) and ribavirin, who must take

AbbVie’s 3D Combo now offered in USA at discount via Express Scripts

AbbVie is now offering a discounted price in the USA on their new "3D" combo known as Viekira Pak™ via pharmacy "Express Scripts" - see below. Any doctor can prescribe it, not only specialists. And they are offering it without proof of a specified level of  liver damage (no "F2+" requirements). This is a positive sign the anticipated "HCV treatment price wars" are beginning. We hope this trend spreads to Canada soon, though the pricing is still likely to b