Treatment for 14 Weeks with Pegylated Interferon Alfa-2b (Peg-Intron) and Ribavirin in HCV Infection with Genotype 2 or 3
The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of 14 weeks of treatment in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 2 or 3 who achieve early virological response (EVR).
In a non controlled multicenter trial, 122 treatment-naive patients received 1.5 microgram/kg pegylated interferon alfa-2b (Peg-Intron) subcutaneously once weekly and 800-to 1,400 mg/d ribavirin based on body weight.
Treatment was stopped at week 14 in patients with EVR, defined as undetectable HCV RNA at weeks 4 and 8. Patients without EVR were assigned to 24 weeks of treatment.
The primary end point was sustained virological response (SVR), defined as undetectable HCV RNA 24 weeks after end of treatment. Among the 122 patients, 95 (78%) had EVR and received 14 weeks of treatment.
The remaining 27 (22%) were treated for 24 weeks.
SVR was obtained in 85 (90%) of 95 patients in the 14-week treatment group and 15 of (56%) 27 in the 24-week treatment group. Altogether, SVR was obtained in 100 of 122 patients (82%; 95% CI, 75%-89%). SVR after 14 weeks of treatment was achieved more frequently among genotype 3a patients with low viral load compared with high viral load (98% vs. 79%; P = .019).
Logistic regression analysis showed that absence of bridging fibrosis/cirrhosis was the only independent predictor of SVR.
In conclusion, the authors write, Patients with genotype 2 or 3 and EVR obtained a high SVR after 14 weeks of treatment. The results need to be confirmed in a randomized, controlled study before this treatment approach can be recommended, particularly for patients with genotype 3 and high viral load or severe fibrosis.
O Dalgard and others. Treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin in HCV infection with genotype 2 or 3 for 14 weeks: A pilot study. Hepatology 40: 1260-1265. December 2004.
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