Early virologic response after peginterferon alpha-2a plus ribavirin or peginterferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C

A. M. Di Bisceglie, R. H. Ghalib, F. M. Hamzeh, V. K. Rustgi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 and with serum HCV RNA concentrations over 800 000 IU/mL have relatively low rates of virologic response to pegylated interferons. The 2 forms of pegylated interferon have different pharmacokinetic profiles, and pilot studies comparing them have yielded varying results. We compared the virologic response to 12 weeks of treatment with peginterferon alpha-2a plus ribavirin vs peginterferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin in 380 patients who were infected with HCV genotype 1 and had high viral loads. We observed no between-group differences in viral load reduction over time and no differences in the percentage of patients treated with peginterferon alpha-2a or peginterferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin who achieved early virologic response (EVR), defined as ≥2-log reduction in HCV RNA concentration or undetectable HCV RNA at 12 weeks (66%vs 63%). Serum levels of interferon were more frequently below the level of quantitation in patients treated with peginterferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin (58-68%) than in those treated with peginterferon alpha-2a plus ribavirin (1-2%). Patients treated with peginterferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin had higher rates of discontinuation for safety reasons (6%vs 1%). In conclusion, a substantial percentage of patients infected with HCV genotype 1 and high viral load can achieve EVR when treated with peginterferon and ribavirin. The 2 pegylated interferons showed comparable anti-HCV activity during the first 12 weeks of treatment when combined with the same doses of ribavirin (1000-1200 mg/day), but discontinuations for safety reasons were higher in the patients treated with peginterferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-729
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Volume14
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Genotype 1
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • High viral load
  • Peginterferon alpha-2a
  • Peginterferon alpha-2b
  • Ribavirin
  • Virologic response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Virology

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