A reduced dose of ribavirin does not influence the virologic response during pegylated interferon alpha-2b and ribavirin combination therapy in patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C

You, B.C.; Kim, Y.S.; Kim, H.i.; Kim, S.H.; Park, S.S.; Seo, Y.R.; Kim, S.G.; Lee, S.W.; Kim, H.S.; Jeong, S.W.; Jang, J.Y.; Kim, B.S.

Clinical and Molecular Hepatology 18(3): 272-278


ISSN/ISBN: 2287-285X
PMID: 23091807
Accession: 051236456

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When combined with pegylated interferon alpha-2b (Peg-IFN α-2b) for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in Korea, the current guideline for the initial ribavirin (RBV) dose is based on body weight. However, since the mean body weight is lower for Korean patients than for patients in Western countries, current guidelines might result in Korean patients being overdosed with RBV. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients with genotype 1 CHC who were treated with Peg-IFN α-2b and RBV combination therapy. We divided the patients into groups A (≥15 mg/kg/day, n=23) and B (<15 mg/kg/day, n=26), given that the standard dose is 15 mg/kg/day. The clinical course in terms of the virologic response, adverse events, and dose modification rate was compared between the two groups after therapy completion. The early response rates (92.0% vs. 83.3%, P=0.634) and sustained virologic response rates (82.6% vs. 73.1%, P=0.506) did not differ significantly between the two groups. During the treatment period, the RBV dose reduction rate was significantly higher in group A than in group B (60.9% vs. 23.1%, P=0.01). RBV dose reduction is performed frequently when patients are treated according to the current Korean guidelines. Given that lowering the RBV dose did not appear to decrease the virologic response during therapy, reducing RBV doses below the current Korean guideline may be effective for treatment, especially in low-weight patients.