Reuters Health Information (2007-04-02): Shorter treatment effective for HCV genotype 2
Shorter treatment effective for HCV genotype 2
Last Updated: 2007-04-02 17:11:31 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For patients with chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 2 who achieve a rapid virologic response at 4 weeks, 16 and 24 weeks of treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin are equally efficacious, according to researchers.
"The recommended treatment for patients with hepatitis C virus genotype 2 (HCV2) is pegylated interferon (peginterferon) and ribavirin for 24 weeks," Dr. Wan-Long Chuang, of Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Taiwan, and colleagues write in the April issue of the journal Gut.
In the present study, the researchers examined whether a 16-week treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin is as effective as a standard 24-week treatment. Patients with HCV2 were randomly assigned in a 1:2 ratio to 16 weeks (n = 50) or 24 weeks (n =100) of treatment with peginterferon alpha-2a and ribavirin. The subjects were followed for 24 weeks after the end of the treatment.
The initial response rate was 86% in the 16-week group and 87% in the 24-week group. The rate of sustained response was 94% in the 16-week group and 95% in the 24-week group. Patients in the 16-week group had a higher relapse rate than those in the 24-week group (6% versus 3.1%, respectively), but the difference did not reach significance.
Early response, patient age, "but not treatment duration, were independent factors associated with sustained viral response," Dr. Chuang and associates note.
Both treatment arms were well tolerated. There were no serious adverse events reported. Both groups had similar rates of adverse events with the exception of alopecia, which was significantly higher in the 24-week group.