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

levels achieved a sustained viral response, compared to 45 percent of patients in the standard group. A majority of patients who showed a viral response at week 4 were cured by a 24-week therapy. However, for patients who did not show a response until week 12, 72 weeks of treatment was required for an approximately similar cure rate.

In conclusion, the authors report, variable treatment duration ensures a sustained viral response rate similar to that of standard treatment duration, with potential significant reduction in cost and side effects.

Meanwhile, researchers in Norway led by Olav Dalgard conducted a randomized controlled trial of 428 patients with HCV genotype 2 or 3 to assess the success rate of 14 weeks of treatment with peginterferon plus ribavirin. Patients who achieved a viral response after 4 weeks were randomly assigned to complete either 14 or 24 total weeks of treatment.

They found that 81 percent of patients in the 14-week treatment group achieved a sustained viral response, with 86 percent still cured at 24-weeks post-treatment. Nearly 91 percent of patients in the 24-week treatment group achieved a sustained viral response, with 93 percent still cured at 24-weeks post-treatment.

We cannot formally claim that 14 weeks treatment is non-inferior to 24 weeks treatment, the authors conclude, However, the sustained viral response rate after 14 weeks treatment is high, and although longer treatment may give a slightly better sustained viral response rate, we believe considerable economical savings, good response to re-treatment and less side effects make it rational to treat patients with genotype 2 or 3 and rapid viral response for only 14 weeks.

Both studies agree that customizing treatment lengths based on the patient response to therapy could lead to very good outcomes, with fewer harmful side effects, and lower costs.


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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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