February 24, 2016 | By Emily Wasserman
It's still early days for Merck's hep C combo Zepatier, but the drug could be a frontrunner in terms of
safety. In a new data analysis, Zepatier turned up proportionally fewer
serious side effects than Gilead Sciences' hep C combo treatment Harvoni and its veteran hep C med Sovaldi.
Healthcare informatics firm Advera Health Analytics looked at
clinical trial data for the three drugs and found that while Harvoni and
Sovaldi's labels have worrisome side effects such as cardiac arrest and
suicidal ideation, Zepatier does not have the same side effects listed.
Zepatier is less risky than Sovaldi, according to Advera's report, but
the drug's safety is on par with Harvoni, Advera said.
Zepatier and Harvoni worked almost equally well in treating
individuals in clinical trials who had already undergone treatment.
Harvoni was more effective than Zepatier and Sovaldi in patients who
hadn't been treated previously, though, according to the report.