, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 1-12,
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Treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection in Japan: update on therapy and guidelines

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a serious health problem leading to cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma. The recent introduction of telaprevir, which was approved in November 2011, in combination with peg-interferon and ribavirin is expected to markedly improve the eradication rate of the virus. However, side effects of triple therapy may be severe. In a phase three III clinical trial, 2250 mg of telaprevir, which is the same dosage used in clinical trials in Western countries, was given to Japanese patients. As this dosage is considered to be relatively high for Japanese patients, who typically have lower weight than patients in Western countries, reduction of telaprevir is recommended in the 2012 revision of the guidelines established by the Study Group for the Standardization of Treatment of Viral Hepatitis Including Cirrhosis published by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan. Other protease inhibitors with fewer side effects are now in clinical trials in Japan. Alternatively, treatment of patients with combination of direct acting antivirals without interferon has been reported. In this review we summarize current treatment options in Japan and discuss how we treat patients with chronic HCV infection.