Randomized trial comparing pegylated interferon alpha-2b versus pegylated interferon alpha-2a, both plus ribavirin, to treat chronic hepatitis C in human immunodeficiency virus patients

Montserrat Laguno, Carmen Cifuentes, Javier Murillas, Sergio Veloso, Maria Larrousse, Antoni Payeras, Lucia Bonet, Francese Vidal, Ana Milinkovic, Antoni Bassa, Concha Villalonga, Iñaki Pérez, Cristina Tural, Maria Martínez-Rebollar, Marta Calvo, Jose Luis Blanco, Estaban Martínez, Jose M Sánchez-Tapias, Jose M Gatell, Jose Mallolas
Hepatology: Official Journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases 2009, 49 (1): 22-31

UNLABELLED: Although two pegylated interferons (Peg-IFN) are available to treat chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, no head-to-head comparative studies have been published. We aim to compare the efficacy and safety of PEG IFN alfa-2b (PEG 2b) versus PEG IFN alfa-2a (PEG 2a), plus ribavirin (RBV). A prospective, randomized, multi-center, open-label clinical trial including 182 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients naïve for HCV therapy was performed. Patients were assigned to PEG 2b (80-150 mug/week; n = 96) or PEG 2a (180 mug/week; n = 86), plus RBV (800-1200 mg/day) for 48 weeks. The primary endpoint was sustained virological response (SVR: negative HCV-RNA 24 weeks after completion of treatment). At baseline, both groups were well balanced: 73% male; 63% HCV genotype 1 or [corrected] 4; 29% had fibrosis index of 3 or greater. The overall SVR was 44% (42% PEG 2b versus 46% PEG 2a, P = 0.65). Among genotypes 1 or [corrected] 4, SVRs were 28% versus 32% (P = 0.67) and 62% versus 71% (P = 0.6) in genotypes 2 or [corrected] 3 for PEG 2b and PEG 2a, respectively. Early virological response (EVR; >or=2 log reduction from baseline or negative HCV-RNA at week 12) was 70% in the PEG 2b group and 80% in the PEG 2a group (P = 0.13), reaching a positive predictive value of SVR of 64% and a negative predictive value of 100% in both arms. Side effects were present in 96% of patients but led to treatment discontinuation in 10% of patients (8% on PEG 2b and 13% on PEG 2a, P = 0.47).

CONCLUSION: In patients with HIV, HCV therapy with PEG 2b or PEG 2a plus RBV had no significant differences in efficacy and safety.

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