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J Infect Dis. 2010 Mar;201(5):751-9. doi: 10.1086/650470.

Efficacy and safety of pegylated interferon combined with ribavirin for the treatment of older patients with chronic hepatitis C.

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Hepatobiliary Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Graduate Institute of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan.



The present study evaluated the efficacy and safety of pegylated interferon (PegIFN)/ribavirin treatment in elderly patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.


Seventy elderly patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (group A; age, > or = 65 years) and 140 sex- and HCV genotype-matched controls (group B; age, 50-64 years) were allocated to receive a PegIFN-alpha-2a/ribavirin standard-of-care regimen.


Group A had a significantly higher rate of treatment discontinuation (21.4% vs 6.4%; P = .001) and grade 3 or 4 adverse events (34.3% vs 20%; P = .002) than group B. In intention-to-treat analysis, the sustained virologic response (SVR) rate was substantially lower in group A than in group B (67.1% vs 78.6%; P = .07). The inferiority of the SVR rate in group A was observed among patients with HCV genotype 1 (HCV-1) (51.9% vs 75.9%; P = .03) but not among patients with HCV genotype 2 or 3 (HCV-2/3) (76.7% vs 80.2%; P = .65). Among patients in group A who had a rapid virologic response, those infected with HCV-1 and those infected with HCV-2/3 had similar SVR rates (80% and 87.9%, respectively). For patients receiving treatment for >80% of its expected duration, SVR rates were similar between the 2 groups (80.4% vs 82.6%, respectively), regardless of viral genotype.


Older patients with HCV infection, especially those in the subgroup infected with HCV-1, had a greater frequency of adverse events and poorer adherence to the standard-of-care regimen, which may be the major reason for treatment inferiority.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: identifier NCT00629824 .

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