In many industrialized countries Hepatitis C virus infection is characterized by an increasing prevalence during ageing.
However, data on the efficacy of treatment among older patients are scarce.
Dr Giorgio Antonucci and colleagues from Italy evaluated the effect of age on the treatment of chronic Hepatitis C with peginterferon-alpha plus ribavirin.
The investigative team retrospectively reviewed medical records of 153 adult patients with chronic Hepatitis C treated with combination therapy.
The team report that 30 of the patients were 65 years of age or older.
In multivariable analysis, age groups 40 years or older had similar odds of achieving sustained virologic response.
|The effect of age was present in patients infected with genotype 1 or 4|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The team noted that these patients had significantly lower odds of sustained response compared with younger patients.
The effect of age was present in the 74 patients infected with genotype 1 or 4.
The investigators found that among the 79 patients with genotype 2 or 3, sustained virologic response rates were not significantly different.
Dr Antonucci's team concludes, "The probability of good response to combination treatment with peginterferon-alpha plus ribavirin is decreased for patients aged more than 40 years infected with genotype 1 or 4."
"Patients aged more than 65 had a similar rate of response to those aged 40 to 64 years."
"Combination treatment may be safely extended to elderly patients with no major contraindications."