Peginterferon alfa-2a (40KD) (PEGASYS) plus ribavirin (COPEGUS) in retreatment of chronic hepatitis C patients, nonresponders and relapsers to previous conventional interferon plus ribavirin therapy.Braz J Infect Dis. 2006 Feb; 10(1):11-6.BJ
Peginterferon alfa plus ribavirin is currently the treatment of choice for chronic hepatitis C. Peginterferon alfa-2a (40KD) plus ribavirin has given an overall sustained virological response of 18% in F3/F4 previous nonresponder US patients. We evaluated the effectiveness of peginterferon alfa-2a (40KD) plus ribavirin in Brazilian patients who were relapsers or nonresponders to previous interferon-based therapy. One-hundred-thirty-four patients with biopsy-proven chronic hepatitis C, HCV RNA positive, elevated ALT and who were either relapsers (n=37) or nonresponders (n=97) to at least 24 weeks of conventional interferon/ribavirin therapy were retreated with peginterferon alfa-2a (40KD) 180mg/qw and ribavirin 800 mg bid for 48 weeks. Efficacy was assessed as virological response (defined as undetectable HCV RNA) at the end of treatment (EoT) and at the end of follow-up (SVR - Sustained Virological Response). Safety assessments consisted of clinical and laboratory evaluations. In the patient sample, 72% were genotype 1 and 34% were cirrhotic. In an intention-to-treat analysis, relapser patients showed 78% EoT response and 51% SVR. Nonresponders showed 57% EoT response and 26% SVR. Positive predictive factors of SVR were non-1 genotype and relapser state. Six percent of the patients interrupted treatment because of adverse events and 45% had dose reduction (mainly associated with leucopenia and anemia). Brazilian patient relapsers and nonresponders to conventional interferon and ribavirin treatment can achieve a sustained virological response when retreated with peginterferon alfa-2a (40KD) and ribavirin. The safety profile is similar to that of naive patients.