Peg-Intron is a pegylated interferon, and has now been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as an alternative to combination alpha interferon and ribavirin.
Peg-Intron is a recombinant interferon alfa-2b linked to a 12,000-dalton polyethylene glycol molecule. It is a once-weekly product designed to optimize the balance between antiviral activity and elimination half-life, according to its developers Enzon, of Piscataway, New Jersey, USA.
A trial of more than 1200 HCV patients showed that it achieved a 24% treatment response rate - compared with a 12% response rate for combination therapy.
The trial found a 12% rate of serious adverse events in all treatment groups - and about 50% of Peg-Intron patients experienced flu-like symptoms. Injection-site irritation and depression were also common events.
Liver specialist Dr John Hutchison, of the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, California, USA, said, "Combination therapy with alpha interferon and ribavirin is the recognized standard of care for chronic hepatitis C.
However Peg-Intron monotherapy offers an alternative to patients for whom combination therapy may be a contraindication, or who are intolerant of this therapy."
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