Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

The Hepatitis C virus is the main cause of liver transplant in the world


The Hepatitis C is a chronic illness, most commonly transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and it is 5 times more disseminated than the HIV infection.

Is a silent illness considered by the World Health Organization as a “viral bomb”. Approximately 70% – 80% of the people with the illness do not know about it, due to the fact that symptoms present in advanced stages of the illness.

New treatment is now available in Trinidad, an innovative therapy that increases the possibility of cure from this illness up to 80% in patients infected by the Hepatitis C virus, genotype 1.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, July 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – The Chemistry, Food & Drugs Division of the Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of Health approved the introduction of Telaprevir to the market, an innovative therapy that significantly increases the cure rate from Hepatitis C, and it is indicated for patients infected with the genotype 1 virus. Telaprevir is available in Trinidad under the trade brand INCIVO®.

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Clinical studies show that the regimen of the treatment based in Telaprevir together with pegylated interferon + ribavirin increases the percentage of patients that get cured in up to 80% of the cases, significantly superior to the efficacy rates observed with the conventional treatment with dual therapy, available today.

Furthermore, triple therapy with the inclusion of Telaprevir avoids the progression of the illness, the need of a liver transplant, and the prevalence of long term complications, such as hepatic cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death.

Hepatitis C is one of the most prevalent illnesses throughout the world. It affects around 170 million people[1]. In its chronic phase, it is considered by the World Health Organization, as a “viral bomb”, and it may have severe consequences on the patients and the public health systems.[2]

Approximately 70% – 80% of the people with the illness do not know about it, due to the fact that symptoms present in advanced stages of the illness. Reason why it is extremely important to maximize the early diagnosis with new therapies which increase the possibility of getting cured.

Clinical manifestations of the infection by the Hepatitis C virus vary according to the acuteness or chronic phase of the illness. An acute infection is in most of the cases asymptomatic and it leads to a chronic infection in 80% of the cases. Of these patients, 20% develop hepatic cirrhosis, which is the previous step to hepatic failure. Of these 20%, from 3% to 5% develop liver cancer.

Not treating the illness may lead to complications that in an important number of patients may lead to the necessity of a liver transplant.  The transplant has additional complications of serious considerations, such as the availability of the organs, the high costs associated to it and the required post-transplant care. This may have severe consequences for the patients as well as for the public health systems.

The paradigm of the Hepatitis C treatment has changed, above all, starting with the arrival of therapeutic alternatives that directly attack the virus, increasing cure rates. We are facing a new era.   Medications that change the regimen of treatment and management of Hepatitis C with higher cure rates in patients infected with HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) genotype 1, which is most predominant genotype in our environment and the most resistant to treatments.

The main goal of the Hepatitis C treatment is to accomplish a sustained viral response (SVR); this means that the virus remains undetectable in the patient´s blood (known as undetectable viral load) six months after finishing the treatment[3]. The patients that achieve an SVR are considered cured.

Telaprevir is part of the Direct-Acting Antivirals (DAAs), which are medications directed to specific enzymes to block important stages of the Hepatitis C virus replication. The DAAs have the potential to help the patients achieve a sustained viral response (SVR).

Telaprevir is a protease inhibitor that is used for only 12 weeks, in all cases, offering this way, a short duration treatment for the patients.

This new therapeutic alternative, presented by the pharmaceutical laboratory Janssen, offers the possibility of shortening the treatment to half the time (with interferon + ribavirin), in 6 to 7 of every 10 patients. It is important that the management of the triple therapy (protease inhibitor as Telaprevir + interferon and ribavirin) is in the hands of experienced doctors in liver diseases.

The importance of the diagnosis

Since this is a treatable and curable illness in many  cases, it is crucial to put personal emphasis in the request of an Hepatitis C detection test, for which is necessary to work more as a team with the clinical doctors and increase the awareness of this public health necessity. Once the infection is diagnosed, the patient should be referred to the specialist for him to evaluate the integrated approach and the needed treatment.

Part of the difficulty in the diagnosis generates in the fact that it is a highly asymptomatic illness or with vague symptoms, such as tiredness and fatigue.

Populations that are in high risk of bearing the virus, exist: intravenous drug users (current or previous), people with conditions associated with high prevalence of HIV, patients with hemophilia that received blood transfusions before 1992, people that have been in hemodialysis, people with elevated transaminases, transfusion receptors or organ transplants before July 1992, children of mothers with Hepatitis C, sexual partners of people with Hepatitis C and health personnel.

[1]-[2] World Health Organization.  Hepatitis C Weekly Epidemiological Record. 1997;82:65-69

[3] The Hepatitis C Trust. Treatments: Potential New Drugs. [cited 2010 Feb 20]

CONTACT: Joyce Nota, +507-6550-4170,

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New therapy for advanced prostate cancer available in Trinidad & Tobago

Prostate cancer is the most common tumor affecting men in Trinidad

A new therapeutic option has been recently approved in Trinidad & Tobago and is available for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, progressing to chemotherapy

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago, April 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Chemistry, Food & Drugs Division of the

Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of Health approved the introduction of Abiraterone Acetate to the country,

the first – orally administered androgen synthesis inhibitor (testosterone) medication for the treatment of patients

with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

New Therapy For Advanced Prostate Cancer Available In Trinidad & Tobago

Clinical trials have demonstrated that this new therapeutic resource for the standard therapy of patients

with hormone-resistant tumors reduces the risk of death by approximately 35%.  Abiraterone Acetate

is available in Trinidad & Tobago under the trademark Zytiga™.

According to the National Cancer Registry of Trinidad & Tobago, prostate cancer leads cancer statistics

in the population with 22% of all cases. Amongst males, prostate cancer accounted for 42% of all new cases

of cancer. Worldwide, prostate cancer is the second type of cancer most frequently diagnosed in men,

and the fifth type overall. Near 1.1 million new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed worldwide in 2012,

and more than 300,000 men died because of the disease.

This type of cancer is the result of the malignant transformation of certain cells of the prostate, a gland located

underneath the urinary bladder in men, one of the functions of which is to produce a part of the seminal fluid.

Although a slowly developing disease, some prostate tumors may be very aggressive and extend

quickly to invade other organs (metastasis).

Abiraterone Acetate is a new therapy administered orally as a single daily dose, which prevents

androgen from being produced at their three sources: Testes, adrenal glands, and the tumor itself,

through the strong block of the CYP 17 enzyme.

Androgens are hormones that promote both male development and sexual features,

and prostate cancer cells have been shown to need them to grow.

“Abiraterone Acetate is an androgen synthesis inhibitor (testosterone) treatment that reduces

the risk of death by approximately 35% of patients already treated with hormone therapy and

chemotherapy. Approximately 20% of all patients with prostate cancer progress to a severe stage

of the disease and could now benefit from this new therapeutic alternative”, stated

Dr. Carmen Martinez, Medical Director of Janssen for Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean.

One of the most salient aspects of Abiraterone Acetate that distinguishes it from

other oncologic treatments is that it possesses a novel mechanism of action, with a benefit

as to the overall survival rate, and a tolerable toxicity profile.

Additionally, Abiraterone Acetate also provides relief for bone pain that often afflicts patients at advanced

stages of the disease.

“Before the appearance of Abiraterone Acetate, after progressing to chemotherapy most patients received either

a second unsuccessful line of therapy or merely supportive, palliative treatment” added Dr. Martínez.

The treatment of this condition depends on its stage at diagnosis. Prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate),

hormone block, or radiotherapy, are some therapeutic possibilities available for the treatment of this disease.

The primary objective of treatment in patients with advanced prostate cancer is to block the action of androgens

such as testosterone, since this may result in the regression of the tumor whose development is

stimulated by this hormone.

However, with passing time many patients who had initially responded to treatments aimed

at blocking the production of testosterone, start to produce the hormone again,

which reactivates the disease.

Chemotherapy is used in those cases in which the disease has become castration-resistant, that is, that the

prostate cancer has kept progressing despite treatment, thus exhausting the possibilities to carry out or to

continue the hormone block.

Some treatments available for these patients are intravenous chemotherapies, with this group including

only docetaxel and mitoxantrone until 2010.

About Janssen

Janssen is a company devoted to research to provide innovative products that help protect and improve

the lives of people, to face and solve the most significant and still unmet medical needs in the areas

of oncology, immunology, neurosciences, and infectious, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases.

Through the different companies of the Johnson & Johnson group, our staff is united in the

passionate search for solutions through science, for the benefit of our patients.

With presence in more than 50 countries, we share the commitment of the founders of our company

to innovate in ideas, products, and services for our patients all around the world.

Press Contact:


Joan Townsend

(507) 64306252 / (507) 3067006

Cesar Ortega

Ejecutivo de Cuenta. Stratego

Tel.  (507) 270-3433


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