Peginterferon alfa-2b and Ribavirin: Effective in Patients With Hepatitis C Who Failed Interferon alfa/Ribavirin Therapy

Thierry Poynard, Massimo Colombo, Jordi Bruix, Eugene Schiff, Ruben Terg, Steven Flamm, Ricardo Moreno-Otero, Flair Carrilho, Warren Schmidt, Thomas Berg, Thomas McGarrity, E. Jenny Heathcote, Fernando Gonçales, Moises Diago, Antonio Craxi, Marcelo Silva, Pierre Bedossa, Pabak Mukhopadhyay, Louis Griffel, Margaret BurroughsClifford Brass, Janice Albrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Treatment with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin produces a sustained virologic response (SVR) in approximately 60% of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients. Alternate options are needed for patients who relapse or do not respond to therapy. Methods: This prospective, international, multicenter, open-label study evaluated efficacy and safety of peginterferon alfa-2b (1.5 μg/kg/wk) plus weight-based ribavirin (800-1400 mg/day) in 2333 chronic HCV-infected patients with significant fibrosis/cirrhosis whose previous interferon alfa/ribavirin therapy failed. Patients with undetectable HCV-RNA at treatment week (TW) 12 received 48 weeks of therapy; patients with detectable HCV-RNA at TW12 could enter maintenance studies at TW18; 188 patients with low/detectable HCV-RNA at TW12 continued therapy at the investigator's request. Results: Overall, 22% of the patients attained SVR (56% with undetectable HCV-RNA and 12% with low/detectable HCV-RNA at TW12). SVR was better in relapsers (38%) than nonresponders (14%), regardless of previous treatment, and in patients previously treated with interferon-alfa/ribavirin (25%) than peginterferon alfa-ribavirin (17%). Predictors of response in patients with undetectable HCV-RNA at TW12 were genotype (2/3 vs 1, respectively; odds ratio [OR] 2.4; P < .0001), fibrosis score (F2 vs F4; OR, 2.2; F3 vs F4; OR, 1.7; P < .0001), and baseline viral load (≤600,000 vs >600,000 IU/mL; OR, 1.4; P = .0223). These factors plus previous treatment and response were overall predictors of SVR. Safety was similar among fibrosis groups. Conclusions: Peginterferon alfa-2b plus weight-based ribavirin is effective and safe in patients who failed interferon alfa/ribavirin therapy. Genotype, baseline viral load, and fibrosis stage were predictors of response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1618-1628.e2
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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