Victrelis: Another Hepatitis C Medication Discontinued

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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On January 20th, 2015, Merck announced that they would be discontinuing their Hepatitis C medication, Victrelis (boceprevir).

Unfortunately this does not come as much of a surprise since the axe came down around one month ago for a similar medication, Incivek. For more information on the discontinuation of Incivek refer to our previous article here.

Within the past year, leaps and bounds have been made in advancing the treatment of Hepatitis C. New and improved medications are replacing older and outdated treatments, leading to the discontinuation of these medications by the manufacturer.

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the liver and causes swelling and inflammation. It is contracted through contact with blood from another person who is infected with the Hepatitis C virus.

What is Victrelis used to treat?
Victrelis is indicated for the treatment of adults with long-lasting genotype 1 hepatitis C, and is to be used in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin. Victrelis cannot be taken alone.

Why is Victrelis being discontinued?

In the past few months the market for hepatitis medications has drastically changed with the introduction of new medications including Sovaldi, Olysio, Harvoni, and Viekira Pak.

All four medications have changed the way we treat the majority of patients with hepatitis C—specifically, they mean the use of fewer medications. Unlike Victrelis, many of the newer drugs can be taken alone or with one other medication.

According to the manufacturer, Merck, Victrelis, is ultimately being discontinued due to:

For more information on Sovaldi and Olysio, Harvoni, or Viekira Pak please refer to our previous articles.

When will Victrelis be taken off the market?
Victrelis is estimated to be on the market until December 2015. It will no longer be available in pharmacies after that date.

You should also know:

The Victrelis discontinuation was not related to product safety or efficacy.

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