A NEW treatment for hepatitis C trialled in patients at The Alfred hospital has cut debilitating side effects and reduced treatment times, creating the potential for many more patients to be cured of the disease.
About 250,000 Australians have hepatitis C but only 5 per cent choose to have the current treatment due to multiple side-effects such as psychotic episodes, depression, insomnia and muscle aches and pains.
Current treatment involves weekly injections of interferon - a protein that fights the virus but causes the side effects - as well as twice-daily tablets for up to seven weeks.
But researchers have found that a combination drug without interferon is even more effective, curing some patients of the disease within two weeks in a recent trial.
The study, published in The Lancet and funded by the drug company Roche, involved 88 patients from six hospitals in Australia and New Zealand, including The Alfred