Reuters Health Information (2003-10-27): Interferon/ribavirin benefits HCV patients with normal ALT
Interferon/ribavirin benefits HCV patients with normal ALT
Last Updated: 2003-10-27 13:53:09 -0400 (Reuters Health)
ZURICH (Reuters) - A late-stage trial has found Roche's Pegasys drug helps a subset of hepatitis C patients who normally go without treatment, the Swiss healthcare group said on Monday.
Research done by the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and elsewhere showed patients with normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels benefited from taking a combination of Pegasys (pegylated interferon alfa-2a) and Copegus, Roche's brand of ribavirin.
Results of the study were presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases conference and made available by Roche, which helped fund the study of 491 patients.
"These findings suggest that a large number of hepatitis C patients with normal ALT levels would benefit from Pegasys combination therapy," said Mitchell Shiffman, chief of the hepatology section and medical director of VCU's liver transplant programme.
"This study provides a great deal more information on how we should treat the 30 percent of chronic hepatitis C patients who have normal ALT levels."
In the study, 30 percent of patients treated for 24 weeks and 52 percent of patients treated for 48 weeks achieved a sustained virologic response (SVR).
For patients with genotype 1, the most difficult to treat strain of the virus and the most common in the United States, 40 percent of patients treated for 48 weeks achieved a SVR.
In those patients with genotype 2 or 3 treated for 24 weeks, response rates reached nearly 80 percent, Roche said.