Scientists from the National Institutes of Health believe a common antihistamine may have the potential to treat hepatitis C.
The study found that the antihistamine chlorcyclizine treated hepatitis C in petri dishes and in humanized mice.
Chlorocyclizine is Significantly Cheaper Than Other Current Drug Options
Chlorcyclizine typically costs about 50 cents per pill. This comes at a drastic difference to modern Hepatitis C treatment options. The most popular current option is a pill known as Sovaldi. This drug costs around $1,000 per pill. Many people have had trouble affording this treatment and insurance companies have created more problems for patients. Because of its high costs, many insurance companies will not cover Sovaldi until a patient has reached critical stages of Hepatitis C. Often, insurance companies will wait until people begin to suffer from liver cirrhosis or scarring before covering the treatment. This has lead to some people developing significant liver damage that could have been prevented had the drug been prescribed sooner. If chloroycilizine proves to be an effective treatment, it could allow for millions of people that cannot afford Sovaldi or other drugs to receive treatment.
A Large Number of Americans Currently Suffer From Hepatitis C
It is estimated that around 3 million Americans currently suffer from Hepatits C. Many people that suffer will not know they have the disease until they become seriously sick. The data collected by the National Institute of Heatlh could prove to be quite promising for many of those who contract the disease. While the results are promising, they do not provide any conclusive results as to whether or not chlorcyclizine will be effective in humans. Doctors warn that people should not begin taking the antihistamine as a means to prevent or treat hepatitis C. They urge people to continue to seek other treatment options until human tests can be performed and more data is collected.