Improved outcomes in patients with hepatitis C with difficult-to-treat characteristics: randomized study of higher doses of peginterferon alpha-2a and ribavirin.
Author(s): Fried MW, Jensen DM, Rodriguez-Torres M, Nyberg LM, Di Bisceglie AM, Morgan TR, Pockros PJ, Lin A, Cupelli L, Duff F, Wang K, Nelson DR
Affiliation(s): University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date & source: 2008-10, Hepatology., 48(4):1033-43.
Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Treatment response remains suboptimal for many patients with chronic hepatitis C, particularly those with genotype 1 and high levels of viremia. The efficacy of high-dose regimens of peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin was compared with conventional dose regimens in patients with features predicting poor treatment responses. Eligible treatment-naive adults with genotype 1 infection, hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA >800,000 IU/mL and body weight >85 kg were randomized to double-blind treatment with peginterferon alfa-2a at 180 or 270 microg/week plus ribavirin at 1200 or 1600 mg/day for 48 weeks (four regimens were evaluated). The primary endpoint was viral kinetics during the first 24 weeks of therapy. Among patients receiving peginterferon alfa-2a (270 microg/week) the magnitude of HCV RNA reduction was significantly greater than for patients randomized to the conventional dose of peginterferon alfa-2a (180 microg/week) for the pairwise comparison for ribavirin at 1600 mg/day (P = 0.036) and numerically greater for the pairwise comparison for ribavirin at 1200 mg/day (P = 0.060). Patients randomized to the highest doses of peginterferon alfa-2a (270 microg/week) and ribavirin (1600 mg/day) experienced the numerically highest rates of sustained virologic response (HCV RNA < 50 IU/mL) and the lowest relapse rate (47% and 19%, respectively). The arm with the higher doses of both drugs was less well-tolerated than the other regimens. CONCLUSION: Higher fixed doses of peginterferon alfa-2a (270 microg/week) and ribavirin (1600 mg/day) may increase sustained virologic response rates compared with lower doses of both drugs in patients with a cluster of difficult-to-treat characteristics.