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Randomized Controlled Trial
, 13 (5), 663-73

Pegylated interferon-alpha2b Plus Ribavirin: An Efficacious and Well-Tolerated Treatment Regimen for Patients With Hepatitis C Virus Related Histologically Proven Cirrhosis

Affiliations
  • PMID: 18771050
Randomized Controlled Trial

Pegylated interferon-alpha2b Plus Ribavirin: An Efficacious and Well-Tolerated Treatment Regimen for Patients With Hepatitis C Virus Related Histologically Proven Cirrhosis

Luigi Roffi et al. Antivir Ther.

Abstract

Background: Little is known about the efficacy, safety and tolerability of pegylated interferon plus ribavirin treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis Cvirus (HCV) infection and histologically proven fully established cirrhosis. We aimed here to evaluate the safety of this regimen in such patients and to identify baseline and on-treatment predictors of a sustained virological response (SVR).

Methods: Patients with histologically proven, HCV-induced cirrhosis were randomized to receive pegylated interferon-alpha2b (PEG-IFN-alpha2b; 1.0 microg/kg/week, n=56; group A) or recombinant interferon-alpha2b (IFN-alpha2b; 3 million IU three times/week, n=36; group B), each in combination with a weight-based dose of ribavirin (800-1,200 mg/day) for up to 48 weeks. The primary endpoint of the study was the assessment of SVR, defined as undetectable HCV RNA 24 weeks after treatment cessation.

Results: Overall, 40% (37/93) of patients attained SVR: 44% (25/57) in group A and 33% (12/36) in group B (P=0.31). SVR rates were significantly higher in genotype 2/3 patients than in genotype 1 patients (69% versus 25%; P<0.0001). Platelet count at baseline, rapid virological response, and early virological response were predictors of SVR. Twelve patients discontinued treatment because of an adverse event and 20 patients required ribavirin dose reduction for the management of anaemia.

Conclusions: PEG-IFN-alpha2b plus ribavirin for 48 weeks is an efficacious and well-tolerated treatment regimen for patients with HCV-induced cirrhosis. Although SVR rates were more satisfactory in genotype 2/3 than in genotype 1 patients, our study identified additional predictors of response that could allow physicians to better manage treatment in this 'difficult-to-cure' subset of patients.

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