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Reuters Health Information (2006-07-10): Statins may hold promise for chronic hepatitis C infection

Drug & Device Development

Statins may hold promise for chronic hepatitis C infection

Last Updated: 2006-07-10 16:54:08 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Findings from a new study indicate that statins, particularly fluvastatin, can inhibit the replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV). As such, these drugs may serve as a useful adjunct to interferon therapy, the authors conclude.

Dr. Nobuyuki Kato, from Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, and colleagues note that while interferon plus ribavirin is the current treatment of choice for HCV infection, it is only effective in about 55% of patients. Thus, there is a need for new therapies.

Recent reports have described an anti-HCV effect of lovastatin. In the present study, reported in the July issue of Hepatology, the researchers used an HCV replication assay they had created, called OR6, to evaluate the effects of several statins alone or in combination with pegylated interferon.

As noted, fluvastatin showed the strongest anti-HCV activity. Atorvastatin and simvastatin had the next strongest effects followed by lovastatin. Pravastatin, by contrast, displayed no anti-HCV activity. Adding mevalonate or geranylgeraniol reversed the anti-HCV effects.

"The results of the present study suggest that statins other than pravastatin are good reagents for combination therapy with interferon-gamma in patients with chronic hepatitis C," the researchers conclude.

Hepatology 2006;44:117-125.

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