Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of pegylated interferon α-2b (peg-IFNα-2b) plus ribavirin (RBV) therapy in Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) genotype Ib and a high viral load. Methods: One hundred and twenty CHC patients (58.3% male) who received peg-IFNα-2b plus RBV therapy for 48 wk were enrolled. Sustained virological response (SVR) and clinical parameters were evaluated. Results: One hundred (83.3%) of 120 patients completed 48 wk of treatment. 53 patients (44.3%) achieved SVR. Early virological response (EVR) and end of treatment response (ETR) rates were 50% and 73.3%, respectively. The clinical parameters (SVR vs non-SVR) associated with SVR, ALT (108.4 IU/L vs 74.5 IU/L, P = 0.063), EVR (76.4% vs 16.4%, P < 0.0001), adherence to peg-IFN (≥ 80% of planned dose) at week 12 (48.1% vs 13.6%, P = 0.00036), adherence to peg-IFN at week 48 (54.7% vs 16.2%, P < 0.0001) and adherence to RBV at week 48 (56.1% vs 32.1%, P = 0.0102) were determined using univariate analysis, and EVR and adherence to peg-IFN at week 48 were determined using multivariate analysis. In the older patient group (> 56 years), SVR in females was significantly lower than that in males (17% vs 50%, P = 0.0262). EVR and adherence to Peg-IFN were demonstrated to be the main factors associated with SVR. Conclusion: Peg-IFNα-2b plus RBV combination therapy demonstrated good tolerability in Japanese patients with CHC and resulted in a SVR rate of 44.3%. Treatment of elderly female patients is still challenging and maintenance of adherence to peg-IFNα-2b is important in improving the SVR rate.
- Chronic hepatitis C
- Pegylated interferon