Retreatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C relapsers to a previous antiviral treatment

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BackgroundThe 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.AimTo evaluate the efficacy of two extended protocols in patients with genotypes 1 or 4, or those with genotypes 2 or 3.MethodsA 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).ResultsA 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.ConclusionPatients 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.

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