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Shorter HCV treatment shows notable success
Date:1/2/2008

Two new randomized controlled trials show that treating Hepatitis C (HCV) with peginterferon and ribavirin for shorter durations can yield success rates similar to those from longer treatment lengths, with cost-savings and lower risk of serious side effects. Patients HCV-RNA levels after 4 weeks of treatment may be an important factor for determining the best treatment length. These findings are in the January issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The articles are also available online at Wiley Interscience at (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology).

HCV genotype is the single most important predictor of a patients outcome after treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin. Only about half of all patients with genotype 1 will achieve a sustained viral response, compared to 70 to 90 percent of patients with genotype 2 or 3. Regardless of HCV genotype, patients who respond quickly to the drugs are also more likely to be cured by them. Based on these differences, and because the therapy is costly and carries risks of serious side effects, researchers have been exploring ways to customize treatment for each patient.

Researchers led by Alessandra Mangia of Italys Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Casa Sollievo Della Sofferenza, in San Giovanni Rotondo conducted a randomized controlled trial of patients with HCV genotype 1. They hypothesized that variable treatment duration based on the first measurement of undetectable HCV RNA would be as effective as standard 48-week treatment. They enrolled 696 patients, 237 of whom received standard HCV. The remaining 459 were treated for 24, 48, or 72 weeks, if HCV-RNA was undetectable at 4, 8, or 12 weeks, respectively.

Nearly 49 percent of patients receiving variable treatment based on detectable viral
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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