Hepatitis C: Looking Beyond the Liver

The liver is, understandably, ground zero when it comes to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). However, other body organs are not without consequences from this disease. There is a strong association between hepatitis C and chronic kidney disease.

This combination of HCV and kidney disease presents challenges for treatment, since hepatitis C negatively affects the survival of dialysis and kidney transplant patients. Traditionally in the past, treatment of HCV in kidney disease patients tended to have a low success rates (in part due to high dropout rates). New HCV medications approved in the last few years offer new hope to these patients with comorbidities.

A new drug combination from Merck in a single tablet, containing the medications grazoprevir and elbasvir, shows strong results at the Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trial level. This drug combo has been used to treat HCV in patients with stage 4 or stage 5 chronic kidney disease. The latest research presented at the recent Kidney Week 2015, the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, indicates a cure rate of 98.6% after the 12-week treatment with grazoprevir and elbasvir. Grazoprevir is a NS3/4A protease inhibitor and elbasvir is an NS5A replication complex inhibitor.

This medication combination is on-track for FDA approval, which should lead to new treatment options for this difficult-to-treat sub-group of HCV patients who also have chronic kidney disease.

Stephen C. Vogt, Pharm.D.
President and CEO
BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy



What do you think?

I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section below.


Azmi AN, Tan S-S, Mohamed R. Hepatitis C and kidney disease: an overview and approach to management. World J Hepatol 2015;7(1):78-92.

Melville NA. Grazoprevir, elbasvir combination effective for patients with hepatitis C, kidney disease: presented at Kidney Week. DG News November 10, 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s