Current treatment for patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection consists of the combination of pegylated interferon and ribavirin. This treatment regimen achieves a sustained virological response, defined as undetectable HCV RNA 6 months after treatment cessation, in 50% of patients overall. There is therefore a need for new treatments to improve the sustained virological response rate and reduce the number of adverse effects associated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. This review examines the current management of chronic HCV infection, including who is eligible for treatment, the optimum duration of treatment, and management of side effects. New drugs in development, such as HCV-specific protease inhibitors, polymerase inhibitors, immune modulators and ribavirin analogues, are outlined, and their role in the treatment armamentarium is discussed, whether used alone or in combination with existing treatments.
- hepatitis C
- protease inhibitors
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Competing interests: None declared.