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Rom J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jun;14(2):109-15.

Effectiveness and tolerability of pegylated Interferon alpha-2a and ribavirin combination therapy in Romanian patients with chronic hepatitis C: from clinical trials to clinical practice.

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Department of Hepatology, Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Fundeni Clinical Institute, Str. Fundeni no. 258, 72437 Bucharest, Romania.



Pegylated interferon alpha in combination with ribavirin represents nowadays the gold standard therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C. The aim of this study was to assess early (EVR) and sustained virological response (SVR), tolerability and baseline predictive factors for SVR in patients with chronic hepatitis C treated with peginterferon alpha-2a and ribavirin combination therapy in day-to-day clinical practice.


The analysis included 174 consecutive patients with chronic hepatitis C (naive, relapsers and non-responders after standard therapy) managed in two expertise gastroenterology centers in Romania, mainly on an outpatient basis. The combination therapy was initiated between 1st of June 2002 - 30th of June 2003.


The mean age of the study population was 47 years; 41% were men, mean BMI was 26.5 kg/sq.m. Only 7.5% of them had bridging fibrosis/cirrhosis on liver biopsy. EVR and SVR were noted in 78.7% and 51.1%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed two independent variables associated with SVR: absence of bridging fibrosis/cirrhosis and absence of hepatic steatosis. The rate and profile of side effects associated with pegylated interferon alpha-2a and ribavirin in our clinical setting were all predictable, based on previous experience in the literature. Side effects resulted in interferon and ribavirin dose reductions in 9.2% and, respectively, 25.3%, but permanent discontinuation of the combination therapy was required in only 5.74% of patients.


Combination antiviral therapy can be safely and successfully used outside clinical trials. To achieve high response rates and tolerability, similar or better than those reported in clinical trials, hepatitis C patients have to be managed in expertise centers, by experienced physicians, aiming at minimizing side effects, optimizing dosing, and enhancing compliance.

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