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Reuters Health Information (2012-02-09): Merck says hepatitis pill Victrelis (boceprevir) hampers HIV drugs


Merck says hepatitis pill Victrelis (boceprevir) hampers HIV drugs

Last Updated: 2012-02-09 17:30:43 -0400 (Reuters Health)

(Reuters) - Merck & Co's recently approved Victrelis (boceprevir) treatment for hepatitis C considerably lessens the effectiveness of ritonavir-boosted HIV protease inhibitors, Merck and U.S. regulators said in separate reports.

"These drug interactions may be clinically significant for patients infected with both chronic hepatitis C virus and HIV by potentially reducing the effectiveness of these medicines when coadministered," Merck said in a February 6th letter to healthcare professionals.

The drug interactions were seen in a study among healthy volunteers who took Victrelis and the widely used HIV treatment Norvir (ritonavir) in combination with one of three other anti-HIV pills: Reyataz (atazanavir), Prezista (darunavir) and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir).

Victrelis, a hepatitis C protease inhibitor, reduced concentrations in the blood of Reyataz, Prezista and Kaletra by an average of 49%, 59% and 43%, respectively.

Further, levels of Victrelis itself were reduced by 45% among volunteers who took it with Kaletra, and by 32% among those who took it with a combination of Norvir and Prezista.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned patients not to stop taking any of their medicines without talking to healthcare professionals.

A statement from Merck to health professionals is available here:

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