No benefit of extended hepatitis C therapy for some

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In patients with advanced chronic hepatitis C infection who have not responded to prior therapy with the standard combination drug treatment — peginterferon and ribavirin — prolonged low-dose, or “maintenance” therapy does not reduce the rate of disease progression, new research shows.

Patients who do not respond to initial antiviral therapy are at increased risk for progression to cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer, and ultimately, death, Dr. Adrian M. Di Bisceglie, from Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and colleagues note. Although some patients are put on extended peginterferon treatment to prevent disease progression, the effectiveness of this approach is unclear.

The Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) trial included 1,050 patients who were randomly assigned to receive low-dose peginterferon therapy or to no treatment for 3.5 years after they did not respond to standard peginterferon and ribavirin therapy.

The patients were evaluated at 3-month intervals and liver biopsies were performed after 1.5 and 3.5 years. The results are reported in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Although blood levels of the liver enzyme protein aminotransferase and hepatitis C virus, as well as tests scores measuring liver tissue destruction and inflammation, fell significantly with peginterferon therapy, disease progression still occurred and was about the same in both groups: 34.1 percent of the treatment group and 33.8 percent of the control group.

The rate of serious adverse events was higher, but not significantly different, in the peginterferon group compared with the untreated group: 38.6 percent vs. 31.8 percent.

The authors conclude “that long-term maintenance therapy with half-dose peginterferon is ineffective” in preventing disease progression and is not recommended for patients with advanced chronic hepatitis C infection who do not respond to standard treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin.

SOURCE: The New England Journal of Medicine, December 4, 2008.


Related Posts:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Depression related to peginterferon therapy for chronic hepatitis C increases with duration of use, but reverses following treatment cessation, according to members of the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-term Treatment against Cirrhosis trial. After 48 weeks of therapy, 42 percent of the patients developed depression. Pre-existing depression and potential biomarkers of depression,

Full Post: Peginterferon-induced depression is reversible

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Doctors hope to be able to better predict which patients will respond to traditional treatment for the hepatitis C virus using a new method for identifying slight variances in the virus’ genetic makeup. U.S. researchers said on Monday that the technique may prove useful for other viruses such as HIV as

Full Post: Study may predict if hepatitis C drugs will work

By Megan Rauscher NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Obesity surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, not only helps obese individuals shed a significant amount of weight, it also significantly improves or completely resolves a common obesity-related liver problem known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a review of published studies shows. So-called “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease” is an

Full Post: Liver disease may resolve with weight loss surgery

By Anne Harding NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that health care workers are more likely to die from bloodborne infections and related illnesses than people working in other occupations. “There is evidence that over the past 20 to 25 years health care workers have been

Full Post: Working in health care can be risky, study hints

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - New research indicates that most children who are 5-year survivors of liver transplantation have good graft function; however, chronic medical conditions and complications affecting other organs are common in this patient population. “The success of liver transplantation in children is defined by more than just excellent survival rates. Better understanding of

Full Post: Children do well 5 years after liver transplant

Site Navigation

Most Read