Division of Hepato-Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Pegylated interferon (peginterferon; interferon with an attached polyethylene glycol molecule) monotherapy is the recommended treatment for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in hemodialysis patients. Limited data concerning peginterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin treatment in this population are available.
2 prospective observational cohort studies.
SETTING & PARTICIPANTS:
From 2007-2009, a total of 26 patients received peginterferon alfa-2b monotherapy. From 2009-2012, an additional 26 patients were treated with peginterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin.
Peginterferon alfa-2b monotherapy, 1.0 μg/kg/wk, versus peginterferon alfa-2b, 1.0 μg/kg/wk, and ribavirin, 200 mg, 3 times per week. Treatment durations were 24 and 48 weeks for HCV genotypes non-1 and 1, respectively.
OUTCOMES & MEASUREMENTS:
End-of-treatment virologic response and sustained virologic response (SVR) were undetectable HCV RNA at the end of treatment and 24 weeks after treatment ended, respectively. SVR and treatment-related withdrawal rate were evaluated by intention-to-treat (ITT) and per-protocol (PP) analyses. Severe anemia was defined as nadir hemoglobin level <8 g/dL.
Patients who received combination therapy had a higher end-of-treatment virologic response than patients who received monotherapy (85% vs 62% in ITT [P = 0.03] and 100% vs 80% in PP [P = 0.03]). The SVR rate was higher in the combination-treatment cohort than in the monotherapy cohort (62% vs 27% in ITT [P = 0.01] and 73% vs 35% in PP [P = 0.01]). Patients who received combination therapy had a significantly higher rate of severe anemia than those who received monotherapy (58% vs 27%; P = 0.03). However, treatment withdrawal rates were similar between the combination (15%) and monotherapy (23%) groups.
Comparison of 2 sequential cohorts rather than a randomized control study.
Peginterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin combination therapy provided a higher SVR rate than peginterferon alfa-2b monotherapy for treatment-naive dialysis patients with chronic HCV infection through careful monitoring of hematologic parameters and ribavirin dose modification. Severe anemia was significantly higher in patients receiving combination therapy than patients treated with monotherapy.