Aim: The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of an initial dose of ribavirin administered before a 48-week course of treatment with peg-IFN + ribavirin in treatment-naïve patients and in patients after previous failure of CHC treatment.
Material and methods: A total of 103 patients with chronic hepatitis C infected with genotype 1 HCV were qualified to the study. Study patients were randomised to receive one of two treatments: A- RBV for 4 weeks followed by combined therapy with peg-IFN alpha-2a +RBV for 48 weeks (n = 73), or B- combined therapy with peg-IFN alpha-2a +RBV for 48 weeks (n = 30).
Results: SVR 24 was observed in 44% patients in group A and in group 40% patients in group B (40%), p > 0.05. Comparing subgroups of the naive patients, it was found that the SVR24 value was higher in group A than group B (57% vs. 47%, p > 0.05). In the re-therapy subgroups, higher treatment response rates in patients not responding earlier was found in group A than group B (39% vs. 16%, p > 0.05).
Conclusion: No significant advantage was found in the use of a priming method over a standard regimen. However, it could be recommended in patients with a total lack of response to peg-IFN and ribavirin when no other therapeutic options are available.