Journal of viral hepatitis

Uptake and utilization of directly acting antiviral medications for hepatitis C infection in U.S. veterans.

PMID 25417805


New drugs therapies have revolutionized the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The objectives of this study were to evaluate uptake and utilization of boceprevir and telaprevir in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We evaluated whether therapies conformed to response-guided protocols, whether they replaced standard interferon plus ribavirin treatment, and whether IL-28B was used to guide treatment. We performed an administrative data-based analysis of all patients receiving pharmacologic treatment for HCV in VA from October 2009 to July 2013. There were 12xa0737 new HCV prescriptions in VA during this time, with 5564 boceprevir or telaprevir prescriptions (44%) and 7173 prescriptions (56%) written for standard interferon plus ribavirin treatment. Prescriptions for the new treatments heavily favoured boceprevir vs telaprevir (83% vs 17%). Sixty-two percent (62%) of boceprevir-treated patients completed their minimum-specified protocol, while 69.2% of telaprevir-treated patients completed their minimum-specified protocol. From October 2010 to July 2012, 4090 patients had an IL-28B test; less than 16% of these tests guided subsequent HCV prescriptions. Uptake of boceprevir and telaprevir was rapid; the number of patients initiating treatment approximately doubled in the period after their introduction. While new prescriptions favor boceprevir or telaprevir over standard interferon plus ribavirin therapy, there appears to still be a strong role of interferon plus ribavirin in treating HCV patients. This work can inform our understanding of how other new effective HCV therapies will be used, their diffusion, and the timing of their diffusion in actual clinical practice.

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Ribavirin, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard