Evaluation of long-term efficacy of interferon alpha-2b and ribavirin in combination in naive patients with chronic hepatitis C: An Italian multicenter experience

Giuseppe Barbaro, Gabriella D. Lorenzo, Maurizio Soldini, Giuseppe Giancaspro, Adriano Pellicelli, Benvenuto Grisorio, Giorgio Barbarini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background/Aims: A combination of interferon alpha and ribavirin has been suggested to reach a higher rate of sustained virological response in patients with chronic hepatitis C than monotherapy. In this study we assessed the long-term efficacy of this combination therapy in the treatment of selected Italian naive chronic hepatitis C patients compared to interferon alpha monotherapy. Methods: We enrolled 428 naive patients who were randomly assigned to receive either recombinant interferon alpha-2b and ribavirin for 24 weeks or interferon alpha-2b alone for 48 weeks. The primary end-point of the study was the rate of sustained virological response. Serum HCV RNA levels were determined before treatment; during treatment at weeks 12 and 24 in the patients receiving the combination therapy; at weeks 12, 24, 36 and 48 in the patients receiving monotherapy; and after therapy at weeks 12, 24 and 48 in the patients in both study groups. Results: Sustained virological response was observed in 43% of the patients treated with combination therapy and in 14% of the patients treated with monotherapy. Logistic regression analysis showed that sustained response was associated with the combination therapy, with HCV genotype other than 1b, with an HCV viral load of 3 x 106 copies/ml or less, with an inflammation score of 7 or less, and with an estimated duration of disease of 10 years or less. Conclusions: A 24-week treatment course with interferon alpha-2b and ribavirin offers a greater chance of sustained virological response compared to treatment with interferon alpha-2b alone for 48 weeks, and may be indicated as initial therapy in such patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-455
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Chronic hepatitis C
  • Interferon alpha
  • Naive
  • Ribavirin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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