Limited data are available on the efficacy and safety of antiviral therapy in geriatric patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Professor Chien and colleagues from Taiwan evaluated the efficacy and safety of pegylated interferon (pegIFN) plus ribavirin therapy in geriatric HCV-infected patients.
The team found that 91 geriatric patients with HCV infection, and 91 gender- and HCV genotype-matched middle-aged patients were assigned to receive weekly pegIFN injection plus weight-based oral RBV for 24 weeks.
The on- and off-treatment virological responses were evaluated for treatment efficacy.
|The withdrawal rate was 13% in the elderly group|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The researchers found that the sustained virological response rate was substantially decreased in the elderly patients.
The sustained virological response rate was significantly lower in geriatric patients than in middle-aged patients with HCV genotype non-1, but the difference was not significant with HCV genotype 1.
The team found that the older patients infected with HCV genotype non-1 who achieved a rapid virological response had a similar sustained virological response rate to that of the younger patients.
The research team observed that the withdrawal rate was 13% in the elderly group, and 8% in the younger group.
Dr Chien's team concludes, "Compared with middle-aged patients, the therapeutic efficacy of pegylated interferon plus ribavirin therapy is lower in hepatitis C virus-infected geriatric patients with an acceptable withdrawal rate."
"Considering prolonged lifespan in geriatric patients, we recommend treating geriatric hepatitis C virus-infected patients who have significant hepatic fibrosis and no other health problems."