Pegylated interferons for chronic hepatitis C virus infection: An indirect analysis of randomized trials
Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.Journal of Viral Hepatitis (Impact Factor: 3.91). 06/2008; 15(8):551-70. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2893.2008.00984.x
Dual therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin is recommended for patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection who meet criteria for treatment, but it is unclear whether pegylated interferon alfa-2a or pegylated interferon alfa-2b is more effective or associated with fewer adverse events. Because data from head-to-head trials of pegylated interferon regimens are sparse, we performed adjusted indirect analysis using trials comparing dual therapy with pegylated interferon alfa-2a or pegylated interferon alfa-2b vs dual therapy with non-pegylated interferon. We searched for potentially relevant randomized controlled trials using electronic databases and reference lists. A total of 16 trials met inclusion criteria. Adjusted indirect comparisons found no statistically significant differences between dual therapy with pegylated interferon alfa-2a and dual therapy with pegylated interferon alfa-2b on the outcomes sustained virologic response [relative risk (RR) = 1.59, 95% CI: 0.56-4.46], withdrawal due to adverse events (RR = 0.86, 95% CI: 0.29-2.55), anaemia (RR = 1.67, 95% CI: 0.32-8.84), depression (RR = 1.09, 95% CI: 0.41-2.90) or flu-like symptoms (RR = 1.10, 95% CI: 0.53-2.29). Adjusting for potential publication bias and stratifying analyses by indicators of methodological quality, human immunodeficiency virus infection status, hepatitis C virus genotype, dose of ribavirin or dose of pegylated interferon did not change conclusions. There is insufficient evidence to support conclusions that dual therapy with one pegylated interferon is superior to the other. However, because estimates are imprecise, our results also do not rule out a clinically significant difference. Head-to-head trials are needed to verify the results of indirect analyses and provide additional guidance on optimal treatment choices.
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ABSTRACT: Ribavirin (RBV) combined with either pegylated interferon (PegIFN) alpha2a or PegIFNalpha2b is the standard of care for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Due to the lack of head-to-head studies, the 2 PegIFNs have not been directly compared. The endpoints of our study were safety and antiviral efficacy of the 2 regimens. Treatment-naïve patients with chronic hepatitis C were randomly (1:1) assigned after stratification for HCV genotype to receive either 1.5 mcg/Kg/week PegIFNalpha2b plus RBV 800-1200 mg/day or 180 mcg/week PegIFNalpha2a plus RBV 800-1200 mg/day for 24 or 48 weeks according to HCV genotype. The study was powered to detect a difference of at least 10% in safety and efficacy of the 2 regimens. The 212 patients on PegIFNalpha2a and the 219 patients on PegIFNalpha2b had similar baseline characteristics, including cirrhosis (20% vs 18%, respectively). By intention to treat, the 2 groups showed similar rates of treatment-related serious adverse events (1% vs 1%, respectively) and drop out rates for adverse effects (7% vs 6%, respectively). Overall, sustained virologic response (SVR) rate was higher in PegIFNalpha2a than in PegIFNalpha2b patients (66% vs 54%, respectively, P = .02), being 48% vs 32% in the 222 HCV-1 and -4 patients (P = .04), and 96% vs 82%, respectively, in the 143 HCV-2 patients (P = .01). PegIFNalpha2a independently predicted SVR in the logistic regression analysis (odds ratio, 1.88; 95% confidence interval: 1.20-2.96). Although the 2 regimens showed a similar safety profile, the PegIFNalpha2a-based treatment yielded significantly more SVR than PegIFNalpha2b.
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