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Schering-Plough Announces FDA Approval of PEGINTRON(TM) and REBETOL(R) Combination Therapy for Treating Pediatric Hepatitis C
Date:12/12/2008

of patients with hepatitis C."

The approval of PEGINTRON for the pediatric indication is based on the results of a clinical trial in 107 previously untreated patients 3 to 17 years of age with chronic hepatitis C and compensated liver disease. In the study, patients infected with HCV genotype 1 or 4 and those with HCV genotype 3 with HCV RNA greater than 600,000 IU/mL (high viral load [HVL]) were assigned 48 weeks of therapy, while those infected with HCV genotype 2 or 3 with HCV RNA less than 600,000 IU/mL (low viral load [LVL]) received 24 weeks of therapy. Of the patients with HCV genotype 1, 4 or 3 HVL who were assigned to 48 weeks of treatment, 55 percent achieved SVR. As with adult patients, SVR in pediatric patients with HCV genotype 2 or 3 LVL was much higher than in those with genotype 1; the SVR rate was 96 percent in children with HCV genotype 2 or 3 LVL.

In the pediatric population, the recommended dose of PEGINTRON, based on body surface area, is 60 mcg/m2/week subcutaneously in combination with 15 mg/kg/day of REBETOL, based on body weight, orally in two divided doses. The treatment duration for patients with HCV genotype 1 is 48 weeks and for patients with HCV genotype 2 or 3 it is 24 weeks. Patients receiving PEGINTRON combination therapy (excluding those with HCV genotype 2 or 3) should be discontinued from therapy at week 12 if their HCV RNA dropped less than 2 log10 compared to pretreatment or at 24 weeks if they have detectable HCV RNA at treatment week 24.

During the course of therapy lasting up to 48 weeks in patients 3 to 17 years of age, weight loss and growth inhibition were common. Some children who experienced growth inhibition during therapy still had inhibited growth velocity 6 months following the end of treatment. Most common adverse reactions (more than 25 percent) observed in these studies were pyrexia, headache, neutropenia, fatigue, anorexia, injection site ery
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