Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Antivir Ther. 2004 Aug;9(4):491-7.

Viral dynamics and pharmacokinetics of peginterferon alpha-2a and peginterferon alpha-2b in naive patients with chronic hepatitis c: a randomized, controlled study.

Author information

  • 1Division of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, IRCCS San Matteo Hospital, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.


The two available pegylated interferon formulations, peginterferon alpha-2a and peginterferon alpha-2b, have different pharmacokinetic profiles; as a result they may have differing abilities to suppress the hepatitis C virus. A recently reported study by Formann and colleagues assessing early viral kinetics among 20 patients receiving peginterferon alpha-2b either once or twice weekly suggests that once-weekly administration of peginterferon alpha-2b is not sufficient for continuous exposure to interferon over 160 h. Twice-weekly administration is recommended to avoid increases in viral load as interferon levels decline prior to the end of the one-week dosing period. The objective of this study was to compare viral dynamics and pharmacokinetics between peginterferon alpha-2a and peginterferon alpha-2b in interferon-naive chronic hepatitis C patients. Patients were randomized to receive peginterferon alpha-2a 180 microg (n=10) or peginterferon alpha-2b 1.0 microg/kg (n=12) once weekly. Serum peginterferon concentrations were measured at baseline, 24, 48, 120 and 168h. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA was measured at baseline, 24, 48, 120 and 168 h during week 1 and then at 4 and 12 weeks. Peginterferon alpha-2b achieved maximal serum levels at 24 h, and then decreased rapidly. Of the 12 patients who received peginterferon alpha-2b, no drug was detectable in seven (58%) patients at 120 h and in 11 (92%) at 168 h. In contrast, peginterferon alpha-2a concentrations increased continuously over time, reaching maximal serum levels from 48 to 168 h. Drug was detectable in all 10 patients at 168 h. At weeks 1 and 4 no significant difference was observed in mean HCV RNA between the groups. However, at week 12, mean HCV RNA was significantly lower in the peginterferon alpha-2a group versus the peginterferon alpha-2b group (2.8126 vs 3.8726; P<0.01). The differences in mean HCV RNA values at 12 weeks may be related to the different absorption and distribution profiles of the two drugs. In conclusion, once-weekly administration of peginterferon alpha-2b (1.0 microg/kg/wk) may be insufficient for continuous interferon exposure; twice-weekly administration may help avoid increases in viral replication as interferon levels decline. Larger-scale studies assessing both viral kinetics and sustained virological responses are needed to confirm these observations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk