Victrelis, combined with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, was a first generation direct-acting antiviral hepatitis C treatment for adult patients with compensated liver disease, who were previously untreated or who had failed treatment. It was approved for use by Health Canada in July 2011.
In 2011, the standard treatment for all hepatitis C genotypes was the combination of pegylated interferon and ribavirin, taken for a year. Scrolling through PHCN’s blog post archive, there is a 2011 blog post about Victrelis and Incivek, another treatment that was approved that same year. In the blog post the new treatments were hailed as “important breakthroughs in the treatment of hepatitis C.”
Five years later, the decision to discontinue Victrelis was not based on safety or efficacy findings, but was based on scientific advancements, changes in treatment practices, and a decreased demand for the hep C treatment.
According to Merck, the treatment’s developer, it is believed that no one in Canada is still taking Victrelis. However, if more information about Victrelis or its discontinuance is required, one can still contact the Merck Care Program at 1-866-872-5773–although, the program is probably fielding less calls about Victrelis these days than it is about Merck’s new hepatitis C treatment, Zepatier*. The Hepatitis C Treatment Information Project certainly is.
*Zepatier is a new hep C treatment being developed by Victrelis’ creator, Merck. Zepatier is an all-oral, short-course (8, 12, or 16 weeks), interferon-free treatment for hep C genotype 1, 3, or 4. The treatment is currently being reviewed for BC PharmaCare coverage. Please click this link for more information about the BC PharmaCare review. It is not too late to include your voice.