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Korean J Hepatol > Volume 12(1); 2006 > Article
The Korean Journal of Hepatology 2006;12(1): 31-40.
Peginterferon Alfa-2a plus Ribavirin for Initial Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C in Korea
Hyuk Lee, M.D., Moon Seok Choi, M.D., Seung Woon Paik, M.D., Jeong Hwan Kim, M.D., Do Young Kim, M.D., Joon Hyoek Lee, M.D., Kwang Cheol Koh, M.D., Byung Chul Yoo, M.D., Jong Chul Rhee, M.D. and Soon Mi Song, R.N.1
Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Gastrointestinal Research Institute1, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Combination therapy with peginterferon and ribavirin is a standard therapy for western patients with chronic hepatitis C; however, its efficacy remains unclear in East Asian patients. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of administering peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin in native Korean patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Seventy-five patients with detectable HCV RNA (52.0% male, median age: 50.8 years) were eligible for the study. The patients were treated with peginterferon alfa-2a 180 mcg/week plus ribavirin 800 mg/day for 24 weeks (for genotype non-1, n=46) or 1000-1200 mg/day for 48 weeks (for genotype 1, n=29). The early virologic response (EVR), the end of treatment virologic response (ETVR), the sustained virologic response (SVR), the biochemical response and the adverse event were analyzed.
EVR was seen in 86.2% of the patients with genotype 1. The ETVR was 58.6% in the genotype 1 group and 84.8% in the genotype non-1 group (P=0.02). The overall SVR was 70.7%: 55.2% in the genotype 1 group and 80.4% in the non-1 group (P=0.04). The sustained biochemical response was 64.0%. Multivariate analysis showed that the baseline HCV RNA level (Odds ratio: 0.045, 95% CI: 0.011-0.183, P<0.001) and genotype (Odds ratio: 0.247, 95% CI: 0.063-0.969, P=0.045) had an independent effect on the SVR. Neutropenia, anemia, flu-like symptoms and itching were the common adverse events. Aggravated liver function led to discontinuation of therapy for six patients. Dose modification in twenty-nine patients was effective without producing a significant reduction of the SVR.
Our data suggest that the efficacy of peginterferon plus ribavirin therapy in Koreans is comparable to those from studies on Western patients as an initial treatment for chronic hepatitis C patients. The baseline HCV RNA level and the genotype can be significant factors influencing the SVR. (Korean J Hepatol 2006;12:31-40)
KeyWords: Peginterferon, Ribavirin, Hepatitis C, Therapeutics, Treatment outcome
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