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Hepatology. 2007 Dec;46(6):1732-40.

Pegylated interferon alpha-2b plus ribavirin in patients with genotype 4 chronic hepatitis C: The role of rapid and early virologic response.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.


In patients chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 4, the optimum duration of therapy and the predictors of sustained virologic response (SVR) have not been adequately determined. In this study, 358 patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 4 were randomly assigned to pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) alpha-2b (1.5 mug/kg/week) plus oral ribavirin (10.6 mg/kg/day) for a fixed duration of 48 weeks (control group, n = 50) or for a variable duration (n = 318). In the variable-duration group, patients with undetectable HCV RNA at week 4 were treated for 24 weeks (group A, n = 69), patients with undetectable HCV RNA at week 12 were treated for 36 weeks (group B, n = 79), and the rest of the patients were treated for 48 weeks (group C, n = 160). The primary endpoint was SVR (undetectable HCV RNA 24 weeks after treatment cessation). Groups A-C and the control group had SVR rates of 86%, 76%, 56%, and 58%, respectively. After the study was controlled for predictors, a low baseline histologic grade and stage were associated with SVR (P < 0.029) in all groups. In addition, among patients in group C, older age (P = 0.04), a higher baseline body mass index (P = 0.013), and low baseline HCV RNA (P < 0.001) were also associated with SVR attainment. The incidence of adverse events and the rate of discontinuation were higher in patients in the variable-duration and fixed-duration groups treated for 48 weeks.


In patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 4 and undetectable HCV RNA at weeks 4 and 12, treatment with PEG-IFN alpha-2b and ribavirin for 24 weeks and 36 weeks, respectively, is sufficient.


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