- What is boceprevir, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for boceprevir?
- Is boceprevir available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for boceprevir?
- What are the side effects of boceprevir?
- What is the dosage for boceprevir?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with boceprevir?
- Is boceprevir safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about boceprevir?
What is boceprevir, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Boceprevir is a man-made antiviral medication that targets hepatitis C virus (HCV). Similar drugs include simeprevir (Olysio) and telaprevir (Incivek). These drugs are called direct-acting antiviral agents because they act directly on hepatitis C virus. They block the replication of hepatitis C virus in human cells by binding to and inhibiting protease enzymes that HCV use for reproducing. Inhibiting viral replication reduces HCV viral load in the body to undetectable levels in some patients. The FDA approved boceprevir in March 2011.
What are the side effects of boceprevir?
Side effects of boceprevir include hair loss, dry skin, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, altered taste senses, sleeplessness, irritability, fatigue, shivering, anemia, and low white blood cell count.
Boceprevir can cause serious skin reactions, including urticaria, angioedema, Stevens Johnson syndrome (SJS), drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), and exfoliative dermatitis. Boceprevir should be discontinued if serious skin reactions occur.
Which drugs or supplements interact with boceprevir?
Boceprevir should not be combined with alfuzosin (Uroxatral), doxazosin (Cardura), sildosin (Rapaflo), tamsulosin (Flomax), sildenafil (Viagra), and tadalafil (Cialis) because it can increase their blood levels, leading to increased side effects from these drugs.
Boceprevir should not be combined with carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin, and St. John's wort because they can increase the breakdown of boceprevir and decrease its effectiveness.
Boceprevir should be used with caution with HIV medications like atazanavir (Reyataz), ritonavir, (Norvir), darunavir (Prezista), and lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) because it leads to fluctuating levels of boceprevir and the HIV medications, leading to decreased effectiveness.
Boceprevir should be used with caution with arrhythmia medications because the combination can increase the risk of irregular heart rate and rhythm.
Boceprevir should be used with caution with antifungal medications like ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), and voriconazole (Vfend); antibiotics like clarithromycin (Biaxin) and erythromycin (Erythrocin); immunosuppressant medications like cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), tacrolimus (Prograf), and sirolimus (Rapamune). Boceprevir can slow the breakdown of these medications and increase their levels in the body, leading to increased side effects and toxicity.
Is boceprevir safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Boceprevir is combined with ribavirin and peginterferon alfa which cause fetal harm and birth defects if used in pregnant women or in male partners of women who are pregnant. Female patients of childbearing potential and their male partners as well as male patients and their female partners must use two effective birth control methods during treatment and for 6 months after treatment. Female patients should have monthly pregnancy tests during treatment and for 6 months after stopping treatment.
It is not known whether boceprevir enters breast milk; therefore, it is best to be cautious before using it in nursing mothers. To avoid any potential risk to the newborn, a decision must be made to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug.
What else should I know about boceprevir?
What preparations of boceprevir are available?
Capsule, 200 mg
How should I keep boceprevir stored?
Boceprevir should be refrigerated at 2 C to 8 C (36 F 46 F) until dispensed. Refrigerated boceprevir can remain stable until the expiration date. Boceprevir can also be stored at room temperature up to 25 C (77 F) for 3 months. Boceprevir should be stored in tightly closed containers, avoiding exposure to excessive heat.
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Related Disease Conditions
Cirrhosis of the liver refers to a disease in which normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue caused by alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C. This disease leads to abnormalities in the liver's ability to handle toxins and blood flow, causing internal bleeding, kidney failure, mental confusion, coma, body fluid accumulation, and frequent infections. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue. The prognosis is good for some people with cirrhosis of the liver, and the survival can be up to 12 years; however the life expectancy is about 6 months to 2 years for people with severe cirrhosis with major complications.
Liver disease can be cause by a variety of things including infection (hepatitis), diseases, for example, gallstones, high cholesterol or triglycerides, blood flow obstruction to the liver, and toxins (medications and chemicals). Symptoms of liver disease depends upon the cause and may include nausea, vomiting, upper right abdominal pain, and jaundice. Treatment depends upon the cause of the liver disease.
Liver (Anatomy and Function)
The liver is the largest gland and organ in the body. There are a variety of liver diseases caused by liver inflammation, scarring of the liver, infection of the liver, gallstones, cancer, toxins, genetic diseases, and blood flow problems. Symptoms of liver disease generally do not occur until the liver disease is advanced. Some symptoms of liver disease include jaundice, nausea and vomiting, easy bruising, bleeding excessively, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, shortness of breath, leg swelling, impotence, and confusion. Treatment of diseases of the liver depends on the cause.
Hepatitis (Viral Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, G)
Hepatitis is most often viral, due to infection with one of the hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D, E, F (not confirmed), and G) or another virus (such as those that cause infectious mononucleosis, cytomegalovirus disease). The main nonviral causes of hepatitis are alcohol and drugs. Many patients infected with hepatitis A, B, and C have few or no symptoms of illness. For those who do develop symptoms of viral hepatitis, the most common are flu-like symptoms including: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, weakness, tiredness, and aching in the abdomen. Treatment of viral hepatitis is dependent on the type of hepatitis.
Hepatitis C (HCV, Hep C)
Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is usually spread by blood transfusion, hemodialysis, and needle sticks, especially with intravenous drug abuse. Symptoms of chronic hepatitis include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and fever. Chronic hepatitis C may be cured in most individuals with drugs that target specific genomes of hepatitis C.
Is Hepatitis C Contagious?
Hepatitis C or hep C causes acute and chronic liver disease. Hep C is a form of liver disease with symptoms like fatigue, jaundice, nausea and vomiting, anorexia, and abdominal discomfort. Hepatitis C is a contagious viral infection caused by persons sharing drug needles, surgical instruments that have not been properly sanitized, and organ transplantation.
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REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.