Source Department of Hepatology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India.
BACKGROUND: Sustained virological response (SVR) rates in patients with hepatitis C are heterogeneous and are influenced by a wide range of host and viral factors.
AIM: To evaluate the efficacy of combination therapy with pegylated interferon alfa (PEG-IFN-α) and ribavirin (RBV), and document the SVR rates taking into consideration various predictive factors in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) genotype 3.
METHODS: Ninety-seven treatment-naive patients with CHC genotype 3 (mean age 41.46 ± 11.51 years, M:F ratio 79:18), who received a combination of PEG-IFN (α-2a or α-2b) and RBV were retrospectively analyzed (2006-2008) for the early virological response (EVR) at 12 weeks, end of treatment response (ETR), and SVR at 6 months.
RESULTS: Eighty-four (86.6%) patients achieved EVR and 81 (83.5%) achieved ETR, while SVR was achieved in 65 (67.0%) patients. Of the 84 patients who achieved EVR, 77 (91.7%) achieved ETR and 61 (72.6%) achieved SVR at 6 months. Age and body mass index (BMI) were found to be important predictors (*P < 0.05) of SVR. CHC patients with a history of alcohol intake showed decreased SVR (52%) (*P = 0.035) as compared to nonalcoholics (80%). Cirrhotic versus noncirrhotic patients showed no difference in SVR (54.5% vs. 70.7%) (P = 0.157). Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (P = 0.169) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA levels (P = 0.42) also did not have an influence on the SVR.
CONCLUSION: Combination therapy with PEG-IFN-α and RBV demonstrated good tolerability in CHC genotype 3 infection. Age, BMI, and alcohol consumption play an important role in determining treatment outcome.