Interferon-based therapy still common for HCV among veterans
In a retrospective study, researchers found that the uptake of direct-acting antivirals, specifically Victrelis and Incivek, increased among veterans with HCV over time, however, prescriptions for interferon-based therapy were still prevalent.
Researchers, including Risha Gidwani, DrPH, of the VA Health Economics Resource Center, Menlo Park, California, performed an administrative data-based analysis of all patients receiving pharmacologic treatment for HCV in the VA between October 2009 and July 2013.
“The objectives of this study were to evaluate uptake and utilization of boceprevir and telaprevir in the Department of Veterans Affairs,” the researchers wrote.
Overall, there were 12,737 new HCV prescriptions in the VA during this time, with 5,564 being Victrelis (boceprevir, Merck Sharp Dohme) or Incivek (telaprevir, Vertex) prescriptions (44%) and 7,173 prescriptions written for standard interferon plus ribavirin treatment (56%).
“Uptake of boceprevir and telaprevir was rapid; the number of patients initiating treatment approximately doubled in the period after their introduction,” the researchers wrote.
Prescriptions for the new treatments were in favor of boceprevir over telaprevir (83% vs. 17%). Sixty-two percent of boceprevir-treated patients completed required treatment compared with 69.2% of telaprevir-treated patients. From October 2010 to July 2012, 4,090 patients had an IL-28B test; less than 16% of these tests guided subsequent HCV prescriptions.
“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,” the researchers concluded. “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.” – by Melinda Stevens
Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.