Viral kinetics in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C

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Abstract

SUMMARY

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic hepatitis and hepatic fibrosis, and chronic infection can frequently progress to cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. Treatment with pegylated interferons (INFs) plus ribavirin has been shown to be more effective than pegylated INFs alone or standard INFs with or without ribavirin. The early response of HCV to treatment with peg-INF has been used to predict treatment outcomes in infected patients, emphasizing the importance of viral kinetics and genotyping in their treatment. Mathematic modelling of viral dynamics has shown the importance of optimal doses of drug, with early virologic response at week 12 predictive of sustained virologic response. Maintaining INF concentration above a therapeutically effective level is necessary to prevent viral rebound and subsequent treatment failure. Once-weekly dosing with peg-INF-α2a, which has a longer half-life than other forms of INF, plus daily dosing with ribavirin, has been shown to be effective in reducing viral load.

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