Background & Aims: Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are frequently treated with a combination of pegylated interferon (peginterferon) and ribavirin. This study compared the efficacy and safety of peginterferon alfa-2a and peginterferon alfa-2b, each in combination with ribavirin. Methods: A total of 320 consecutive, treatment-naive, HCV RNA-positive patients with chronic hepatitis were randomly assigned to once-weekly peginterferon alfa-2a (180 μg, group A) or peginterferon alfa-2b (1.5 μg/kg, group B) plus ribavirin 1000 mg/day (body weight 500,000 IU/mL (58/84 [69%] vs 43/93 [46.2%]; P = .002). SVR rates in groups A and B were not statistically different among patients with baseline HCV RNA ≤500,000 IU/mL (52/76 [68.4%] vs 44/67 [65.7%]; P = .727) or in patients with cirrhosis (14/33 [42.4%] vs 12/26 [46.1%]; P = .774). Conclusions: In patients with chronic HCV infection, peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin produced a significantly higher SVR rate than peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin.
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