, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 512-522

Telaprevir: a new hope in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C?

Abstract

More than 180 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis C (CHC) virus infection, a major cause of liver cirrhosis and its life-threatening complications including liver failure, portal hypertension, and hepatocellular carcinoma. With the current standard of care of pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin (PEG-IFN-α/RBV), the chances of sustained viral clearance or “cure” are only 40%–50% for genotype 1 infection, which is the most common genotype in western populations. Consequently, there has been a drive to develop new agents specifically targeting essential components of the viral life cycle, such as the hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3/4A serine protease. Perhaps the most advanced HCV protease inhibitor in clinical development is telaprevir, which has been shown to improve treatment outcomes when combined with PEG-IFN-α/RBV in genotype 1 infection, and is currently undergoing phase 3 study. In this review, we summarize the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and results of phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of telaprevir, and discuss the likely role of this agent in the future management of CHC.