A team from Turin, Italy, assessed the efficacy of two different regimens of interferon and ribavirin combination therapy in transplanted patients with recurrent severe hepatitis C.
A total of 57 patients (68% genotype 1b) were included in the trial.
They were treated with 3 million units of interferon alfa-2b, 3-times weekly and oral ribavirin 800mg/die, for 6 (n = 27) or 12 (n = 30) months.
The researchers measured the end of treatment virologic response (ETVR) and the 12-month post-therapy sustained virologic response (SVR; negative HCV-RNA).
ETVR was induced in 33% and in 23% of patients treated, respectively, for 6 and 12 months.
An SVR was induced in 22% of the former patients and 17% of the latter.
|Sustained virologic response:|
6-month regimen: 22%
| Journal of Hepatology |
The authors discovered that HCV genotype non-1 patients responded better than genotype 1 (SVR: 43% in genotype non-1 versus 12% in genotype 1).
In ETV responders, the hepatitis activity index improved by more than 2 points in biopsies taken after therapy, compared to pre-therapy biopsies.
However, reduction of therapy was required in 51% of the patients due to anemia and leukopenia.
Bruna Lavezzo, of the Molinette Hospital, Turin, concluded on behalf of the group, "Combination therapy is efficacious in controlling HCV disease in about 20% of transplants with recurrent hepatitis C.
"Six months of therapy are as efficacious as 12 months."