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Hepatitis | U.S.: Do Not Mix Merck Hepatitis Pill With HIV Drugs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. drug regulators are changing the label for Merck Co Inc ‘s recently approved Victrelis treatment for hepatitis C to show it should not be taken with some widely used HIV medicines .

“Co-administration (of the two drugs) … is not recommended at this time because of the possibility of reducing the effectiveness of the medicines, permitting the amount of HCV ( hepatitis C virus ) or HIV … in the blood to increase,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday.

The FDA and Merck first warned about the issue in February based on the results of a drug interaction study, but a label change could further crimp sales of Victrelis.


Victrelis, approved last May, attacks the hepatitis C virus that over time can lead to chronic liver disease or liver failure. Many patients with hepatitis are also infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, which weakens the immune system and is fatal without treatment.

The drug interaction study tested healthy volunteers who took Victrelis and the widely used HIV treatment Norvir (ritonavir) with one of three other anti-HIV pills. All of the HIV drugs work by blocking protease, an enzyme the virus needs in order to replicate.

The study found Victrelis reduced the concentrations of the HIV drugs in the blood.

Analysts have said the findings could crimp sales of Victrelis by as much as a


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