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Weight-based dosing of ribavirin improves outcomes for patients with hepatitis C
Date:10/1/2007

Patients with hepatitis C treated with combination therapy of pegylated interferon and ribavirin had better outcomes when taking a weight-based dosage of ribavirin compared to a flat dosage. This treatment technique also improved the response rates of African American patients, whose outcomes have lagged behind those of Caucasian patients. These findings are in the October 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 and an accompanying editorial are also available online at Wiley Interscience (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology).

Combination therapy of pegylated interferon and ribavirin is the standard of care for patients with chronic hepatitis C, allowing more than half to achieve a sustained viral response. However, previous studies have suggested that a weight-based dose of ribavirin might lead to even better results. To examine this possibility, researchers, led by Ira Jacobson of Cornell University, conducted a large, multi-center, randomized, prospective, open-label study between December 2000 and June 2005.

They enrolled 5,027 patients with hepatitis C from more than 200 centers around the country. All participants were 18 to 70 years old, weighed less than 125 kg, had detectable HCV RNA in their blood, and had never been treated for it. They were randomly assigned to receive interferon and a flat dose of ribavirin (800 mg/day), or interferon and a weight-based dose of ribavirin, which started at 800 mg/day for patients weighing under 65 kg, and increased by 200 mg/day for up to each additional 20 kg of weight up to a maxiumum dose of 1400 mg. Those with HCV genotype 2 or 3, which is more responsive to interferon-based therapy, also tested treatment durations of 24 and 48 weeks. Each patient was followed up for 24 weeks after treatment.


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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Source:Eurekalert

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