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Published On: Tue, Nov 20th, 2012

FDA approves Promacta to treat low platelet counts in hepatitis C patients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved PROMACTA for the treatment of thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet counts) in patients with chronic hepatitis C to allow them to initiate and maintain interferon-based therapy, according to a GlaxoSmithKline press release Nov.19.

Promacta FDA Video Screen Shot

The drug is the first supportive care treatment available to patients who are ineligible or poor candidates for interferon-based therapy due to their low blood platelet counts.

PROMACTA in combination with interferon-based therapy has been shown to improve a patient’s chance of achieving a sustained virologic response (SVR) or viral cure.

“Some chronic hepatitis C patients suffer from low blood platelet counts.  Commonly prescribed interferon-based therapies can worsen the problem of low blood platelet counts. Today’s FDA approval of PROMACTA gives doctors a tool to address the low platelet challenge. This means more chronic hepatitis C patients may be able to start and stay on interferon-based therapy. That gives these patients a better chance to achieve a viral cure”, says Paolo Paoletti, M.D., President, GlaxoSmithKline Oncology.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3.2 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C, a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to diminished liver function or liver failure.

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. It is rare to see it transmitted via organ and tissue transplantation.

Hepatitis C can be either “acute” or “chronic”. Acute hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the 1st 6 months after someone is exposed to hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, or even death. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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