Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of combination therapy of peginterferon and ribavirin in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1b and low virus load.
Methods Inclusion criteria were HCV-genotype 1b, serum HCV RNA level of <100 KIU/mL at the initiation time of treatment. A total of 60 were enrolled in this retrospective cohort study. The treatment period of combination therapy was 39.8±16.1 weeks.
Results Of the 60 study patients, 47 had sustained virological response (SVR) by the intention to treat analysis. SVR occurred when serum HCV RNA was negative 8 weeks after the initiation of the treatment (p=0.004) and continuance of negative HCV RNA during treatment was ≥30 week (p=0.016). In rapid virological response, all of seven patients with continuance of negative HCV RNA 20 to 29 weeks during treatment had SVR. In early virological response nine of 10 patients with continuance of negative HCV RNA of 30 to 39 week during treatment had SVR.
Conclusion The duration of combination therapy for chronic hepatitis C should be determined based on the time of attainment of negative HCV RNA in patients with genotype 1b and low-virus load.
2009 by The Japanese Society of Internal Medicine