Retreatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C relapsers to a previous antiviral treatment.
ABSTRACT The efficacy of retreatment with pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) plus ribavirin for patients relapsing after a previous treatment remains to be fully elucidated, although extended treatment seems to be the best option in such cases.
To evaluate the efficacy of two extended protocols in patients with genotypes 1 or 4, or those with genotypes 2 or 3.
A total of 181 patients who had relapsed after a previous antiviral treatment with PEG-IFNα2a plus weight-based ribavirin were offered retreatment with the same dose of both PEG-IFN plus ribavirin, to be continued for 48 weeks in those with genotypes 2 or 3 (group 1), and for 72 weeks in those with genotypes 1 or 4 (group 2).
A total of 59 patients (32.5%) refused the retreatment, while 122 (78 men, 44 women) patients were enrolled in the study: 41 were allocated in group 1 and 81 in group 2. Cirrhosis at baseline (staging 5/6 according to Ishak's score was recorded in 11 patients, six in group 1 and five in group 2). Nine patients (7.3%) in group 2 discontinued the treatment (due to lack of response). The remaining patients completed the treatment and were followed-up for at least 12 months after the treatment. Sustained virological response (SVR) rate was 82.9% in group 1 and 50.6% in group 2.
Patients with chronic hepatitis C with 'easy genotypes' relapsers to a previous antiviral treatment have more than 80% probability of achieving a SVR with a 48-week retreatment. Patients with 'difficult genotypes' have more than 50% chance of a SVR after a 72-week extended treatment.