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Keywords:

  • hepatitis C virus;
  • monotherapy;
  • subtype 1b;
  • telaprevir

Summary.  Hepatitis C virus (HCV) subtype 1b, which infects approximately 70% of Japanese carriers, is likely to be more eradicable by a telaprevir regimen than subtype 1a because of the higher genetic barrier of Val36 and Arg155 substitutions. The aims of this exploratory study were to evaluate the virological response and safety of 24-week oral administration of telaprevir alone in chronic HCV subtype 1b infection. Fifteen treatment-naïve patients were treated with telaprevir 750 mg every 8 h for 24 weeks. All patients were Japanese whose median age was 58.0 years (range: 45–68), and six patients (40%) were men. Median baseline HCV RNA level was 6.80 log10 IU/mL (range: 3.55–7.10). The HCV RNA levels decreased to undetectable in five patients (33%) within 8 weeks. Three patients (20%) with negative HCV RNA by Week 4 achieved end of treatment response. One patient (7%) who achieved sustained virological response had a low baseline viraemia of 3.55 log10 IU/mL. Most of the adverse events including anaemia and skin disorders were mild to moderate. Developed variants were T54A and A156V/T/F/Y with or without secondary substitutions rather than V36M ± R155K. Telaprevir alone for 24 weeks in Japanese patients with HCV subtype 1b resulted in an sustained viral response rate of 7% (1/15) and was well tolerated for 24 weeks. These results will support the implementation of further studies on oral combination of telaprevir with other direct-acting antiviral agents in patients infected with HCV subtype 1b.