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Simplified monitoring for hepatitis C virus treatment with glecaprevir plus pibrentasvir, a randomised non-inferiority trial
  October 23, 2019
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• Simplified direct-acting antiviral treatment monitoring produced high efficacy and tolerability.
• Direct-acting antiviral adherence was high and equivalent with simplified and standard monitoring.
• Further research evaluating simplified monitoring of direct-acting antiviral treatment is warranted.
Background & Aims
Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for HCV has high efficacy and limited toxicity. We hypothesised that the efficacy of glecaprevir-pibrentasvir for chronic HCV with a simplified treatment monitoring schedule would be non-inferior to a standard treatment monitoring schedule.
In this open-label multicentre phase IIIb trial, treatment-naïve adults with chronic HCV without cirrhosis were randomly assigned (2:1) to receive glecaprevir-pibrentasvir 300 mg-120 mg daily for 8 weeks administered with a simplified or standard monitoring strategy. Clinic visits occurred at baseline and post-treatment week 12 in the simplified arm, and at baseline, week 4, week 8, and post-treatment week 12 in the standard arm. Study nurse phone contact occurred at week 4 and week 8 in both arms. Participants requiring adherence support were not eligible, including those reporting recent injecting drug use. The primary endpoint was sustained virological response at post-treatment week 12 (SVR12), with a non-inferiority margin of 6%.
Overall, 380 participants (60% male, 47% genotype 1, 32% genotype 3) with chronic HCV were randomised and treated with glecaprevir-pibrentasvir in the simplified (n = 253) and standard (n = 127) arms. In the intention-to-treat population, SVR12 was 92% (95% CI 89%-95%) in the simplified and 95% (95% CI 92%-99%) in the standard arm (difference between arms -3.2%; 95% CI -8.2% to 1.8%) and did not reach non-inferiority. In the per-protocol population, SVR12 was 97% (95% CI 96%-99%) in the simplified and 98% (95% CI 96%-100%) in the standard arm. No treatment-related serious adverse events were reported.
In patients with chronic HCV infection without cirrhosis, treatment with glecaprevir-pibrentasvir was safe and effective. In comparison to standard monitoring, a simplified monitoring schedule did not achieve non-inferiority.
Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT03117569.
Lay summary
Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for hepatitis C is highly effective and well tolerated. The SMART-C randomised trial evaluated an 8-week regimen of glecaprevir-pibrentasvir for hepatitis C treatment, using a simplified monitoring schedule that included no pathology tests or clinic visits during treatment. This simplified strategy produced a high cure rate (92%), but this was not equivalent to the standard monitoring schedule cure rate (95%).

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