Prolonged interferon treatment after combination interferon and ribavirin therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C: a clinical trial of interferon relapsers and non-responders

Kao, J.H.; Lai, M.Y.; Chen, P.J.; Cheng, Y.M.; Chen, D.S.

Journal of the Formosan Medical Association 100(10): 662-667

2001


ISSN/ISBN: 0929-6646
PMID: 11760366
Accession: 047386438

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Abstract
For the retreatment of chronic hepatitis C patients relapsing after, or non-responsive to, previous interferon therapy, the efficacy of combination therapy with interferon alfa plus ribavirin is superior to interferon alone. The aim of this study was to determine whether prolonged interferon alfa treatment after 24-week combination therapy can further increase the efficacy of combination therapy. Nineteen interferon relapsers and 17 interferon non-responders were randomly assigned to receive either interferon alfa 5 million units (MU) thrice weekly plus oral ribavirin 1,200 mg daily for 24 weeks (regimen A) or interferon alfa 5 MU thrice weekly plus oral ribavirin 1,200 mg daily for 24 weeks followed by interferon alfa 3 MU thrice weekly for another 24 weeks (regimen B). Efficacy was assessed by normalization of serum aminotransferase concentrations and disappearance of serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA at the end of treatment and at 24 weeks after stopping treatment. Overall, 67% of relapsers receiving regimen A and 80% of those receiving regimen B had sustained virologic responses 24 weeks after stopping treatment. In contrast, 45% of non-responders receiving regimen A and 63% of those receiving regimen B had sustained responses. The sustained response was more common in relapsers with non-1b HCV genotypes. The sustained response rate to combination therapy was 50% or more in patients with genotype 1b infection. Prolonged interferon treatment after combination therapy has a comparable efficacy to combination therapy alone for the retreatment of chronic hepatitis C patients relapsing after, or non-responsive to, previous interferon therapy.