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Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2004 Feb;2(1):17-25.

Peginterferon-alpha(2b) and ribavirin.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Hepatitis C virus infection is among the leading causes of chronic liver disease in the USA and has a worldwide prevalence of approximately 300 million people. Chronic hepatitis C virus is the most common indication for liver transplantation in the USA. Due to the chronic nature of hepatitis C virus infection, these numbers are expected to grow fourfold in the next decade. Interferon-alpha(2b) monotherapy followed by combination therapy with ribavirin have been used to treat chronic hepatitis C virus with limited success. The development of pegylated interferon-alpha(2b), (Peg-intron, Schering-Plough) instituted the next chapter in hepatitis C virus therapy. The demonstration of its safety and efficacy led to a major trial studying coadministration with ribavirin for compensated chronic hepatitis C virus infection. Pegylated interferon combination therapy has improved efficacy over standard interferon combination therapy without an increase in adverse effects. This article reviews the data regarding pegylated interferon-alpha(2b) with ribavirin therapy. The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of combination therapy will be presented along with clinical trial data. The efficacy and ease of usage of Pegintron and ribavirin support its use for chronic hepatitis C virus infection.

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