New drug boosts blood platelet count in Hepatitis C patients

December 29th, 2007 - 2:01 pm ICT by admin  

London, December 29 (ANI): A new drug called eltrombopag may offer an effective treatment for Hepatitis C, as scientists have found that it boosts blood-platelet counts.

The finding attains significance as the blood platelet count of Hepatitis C patients dramatically reduces, effectively denying them the treatment they urgently need.

“In this study, eltrombopag increased platelet counts in a dose-dependent manner, allowing more patients to complete the first 12 weeks of antiviral therapyan important treatment goal,” says Dr. Samuel Sigal, who led the study at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, one of 22 study sites.

The placebo-controlled study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, followed 74 patients with low platelet counts and cirrhosis of the liver due to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

Seventy-four percent of the patients randomised to take the lowest dose, 30 milligrams daily, saw their platelet counts go up significantly. The study also showed that 79 percent and 95 percent of the participants saw increases with the higher doses, 50 or 75 milligrams daily, respectively.

Headaches, dry mouth, abdominal pain, and nausea were found to be the side effects of the therapy, none of which was serious enough to discontinue the treatment.

Eltrombopag, developed by GlaxoSmithKline, has also been found to decrease bleeding in patients with Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), an autoimmune disease that dramatically reduces the number of platelets in their blood. (ANI)

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