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Reuters Health Information (2008-11-06): HCV relapse rates may be lower with peginterferon alfa-2b than alfa-2a


HCV relapse rates may be lower with peginterferon alfa-2b than alfa-2a

Last Updated: 2008-11-06 14:51:40 -0400 (Reuters Health)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Health) - Results of the IDEAL study reported here this week show that virologic response is equally strong with peginterferon alfa-2a or peginterferon alfa-2b in the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, but viral load reductions are more rapid with peginterferon alfa-2b.

"The faster you can suppress viral levels, the lower the chances of disease relapse," co-investigator Dr. Paul Kwo of Indiana University in Indianapolis told Reuters Health.

IDEAL compared combination therapy with one of two doses of peginterferon alfa-2b (Peg 2b) and ribavirin with peginterferon alfa-2a (Peg 2a) and ribavirin in 3,070 patients with HCV genotype 1 infection.

The results showed that virologic response was similar for all three treatment regimens at 12 weeks, Dr. Mark S. Sulkowski of Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reported at the annual meeting of the Association of the study of Liver Diseases.

Also, the magnitude of change in HCV RNA at treatment week 4 was highly associated with the likelihood of sustained virologic response. Peg 2b achieved a greater HCV RNA reduction at 4 weeks.

"Patients with a decline in HCV RNA from baseline of greater than 3 log10 (at week 4) had a greater than 61% probability of sustained virologic response, while those with a decline of less than 1 log10 had a less than 5% probability of sustained virologic response," Dr. Kwo reported.

"Treatment weeks 4 and 12 remain the mainstay for physicians to make decisions regarding the ability of patients to achieve sustained virologic response," the IDEAL researchers say.

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