Randomized trial of three different regimens for 24 weeks for re-treatment of chronic hepatitis C patients who failed to respond to interferon-alpha monotherapy in Taiwan

Liver Int. 2004 Dec;24(6):595-602. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2004.0954.x.


With the favorable result of interferon (IFN)-ribavirin combination therapy for 24 weeks among naive Taiwanese chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients, the optimal regimens of re-treatment for CHC patients who failed initial IFN monotherapy is not well-established. The study evaluated the effectiveness of re-treatment for 24 weeks with 3 different regimens and predictors for sustained virological response (SVR).

Methods: Total 120 Taiwanese CHC patients (81 males, 70 relapsers, mean age: 48.6 years) who failed initial IFN monotherapy were enrolled. They were assigned randomly (with a ratio of 1:1:2) to receive one of the three regimens for re-treatment for 24 weeks; group A: IFN 6 million units (MU) monotherapy (N=30), group B: combination therapy with ribavirin and IFN 3 MU (N=30) or group C: combination therapy with ribavirin and IFN 6 MU (N=60). The intention-to-treat rate of sustained virological response (SVR) was 38.3%. The SVR rate in group C (53.3%) was significantly higher than group A (16.7%, P<0.005) and group B (30%, P<0.05). Drop-out rates were similar between the three groups. Patients achieving SVR had significant improvement histologically. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype non-1b infection, lower pretreatment HCV RNA levels, combined with ribavirin and with higher IFN dose, and relapsers were independent predictors for SVR.

Conclusion: We concluded that more than one-third Taiwanese CHC patients achieved SVR after 24 weeks re-treatment and combination therapy, especially with higher dose of IFN, yielded higher efficacy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage*
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Probability
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Ribavirin / administration & dosage*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Salvage Therapy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Taiwan
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viral Load


  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Ribavirin