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Higher rates of therapy discontinuation than expected with combination therapy for Hepatitis C

October's Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics reports that combination therapy for Hep C does not alter sustained virological response and rate of therapy discontinuation is higher than anticipated.

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Researchers from Texas, America compared the efficacy of high-dose induction with standard dose interferon therapy for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The research group randomly selected patients to receive 5 million units daily interferon-2b for 4-weeks.

The researchers followed this treatment up with 44-weeks of standard dose therapy (3 million units three times a week) for genotype 1 or 20 weeks for non-genotype 1.

Another group of patients received standard dose therapy for the whole of the treatment duration.

The researchers used daily weight-based ribavirin for the entire therapy interval.

In total, 45 patients were enrolled in the trial with genotype 1 comprising 76% of the sample.

The researchers noted that cirrhosis or bridging-fibrosis was present in 69% of the patients.

The group found that of the 29 liver biopsies available for Knodell scoring, 41% and 51% had scores of 6 to 10 and 11 to 15, respectively.

Rate of sustained virological response was similar between the two treatment groups
Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics

The group's results showed that rates of sustained virological response did not differ significantly between the two treatment groups.

In addition, therapy type and/or early intervention for depression did not affect the rate of therapy discontinuation, which was 26.6%.

Dr Brown concluded, "The rate of sustained virological response was similar between the two treatment groups and higher than anticipated among patients with cirrhosis or bridging-fibrosis".

"The rate of therapy discontinuation was also higher than anticipated but was not attributable to therapy type or untreated depression".

Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics; 2004: 20 (6): 629
11 October 2004

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