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Pharmacokinetics and enhanced PKR response in patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with pegylated interferon alpha-2b and ribavirin.

Author(s): Asahina Y, Izumi N, Umeda N, Hosokawa T, Ueda K, Doi F, Tsuchiya K, Nakanishi H, Matsunaga K, Kitamura T, Kurosaki M, Uchihara M, Higaki M, Miyake S

Affiliation(s): Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Musashino Red Cross Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.

Publication date & source: 2007-06, J Viral Hepat., 14(6):396-403.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

This study investigated the molecular and pharmacokinetic mechanisms of the enhanced antiviral efficacy associated with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) alpha-2b and ribavirin. The study involved comparing the expression of serial double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase (PKR) before and during treatment in 26 PEG-IFN alpha-2b and 26 conventional IFN alpha-2b recipients matched for age, body weight and dose of ribavirin. The pharmacokinetics of PEG-IFN alpha-2b and ribavirin was analysed in 15 of the 26 PEG-IFN recipients. There was a rapid increase in PKR expression in both treatment groups, although expression from day 2 onwards was maintained at a significantly higher level in the PEG-IFN recipients (P < 0.05). C(max) of PEG-IFN occurred 12-48 h after the initial administration, with t(1/2) and C(min) being 49 h and 190 pg/mL, respectively. In contrast to ribavirin, accumulation of PEG-IFN was minimal. There was no association between serum PEG-IFN and ribavirin levels and virological response. Although baseline expression of PKR before treatment was marginally higher in nonresponders (NRs), from day 2 onwards, sequential PKR expression in response to PEG-IFN was higher in sustained viral responders compared with the NRs (P < 0.05). Significant correlations were found between kinetics of PKR expression and viral decline rates in each phase of hepatitis C virus dynamics (first phase, r = 0.67, P = 0.0006; second phase, r = 0.67, P = 0.001). In conclusion, improvement in pharmacokinetics following pegylation led to higher intracellular PKR expression, which was associated with enhanced virological efficacy of PEG-IFN-based combination therapy. The concentrations of both ribavirin and PEG-IFN alpha-2b were not associated with viral response and PKR expression.

Page last updated: 2007-08-04

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