Background: Data on the efficacy of Peg-interferon/ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C are mostly derived from treatment of selected patients enrolled in clinical trials. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of Peg-interferon/ribavirin therapy in "real world" chronic hepatitis C patients in Italy. Methods: Independent observational multicentre study including consecutive patients receiving Peg-interferon/ribavirin in the 18 months before (retrospective phase) and after (prospective phase) the start of the study. Results: 4176 patients were eligible. The final study population consisted of 2051 patients in the retrospective and 2073 in the prospective phase.Sustained virological response was achieved by 1036 patients (50.5%) during the retrospective phase: 325 were genotypes 1/4 (34.1%) and 684 were genotypes 2/3 (67.2%) and by 800 patients (38.6%) during the prospective phase: 300 were genotypes 1/4 (28.4%) and 473 were genotypes 2/3 (51.5%).During multivariate analysis genotypes 2/3 were significantly associated with higher sustained virological response rates; cirrhosis and γ-glutamil-transpeptidase >2 times the normal limit were associated with poorer response. Conclusions: The response to Peg-interferon/ribavirin therapy in "real world" clinical practice is distinctly lower than in registration trials. The difference in response rates was more pronounced among easy-to-treat than among difficult-to-treat hepatitis C virus genotypes.
- Sustained virological response (SVR)
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