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Open Access Research article

The effectiveness of retreatment with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin in patients with chronic viral hepatitis C genotype 2 and 3: a prospective cohort study in Brazil

Simara Artico12*, Karine Medeiros Amaral12, Candice Beatriz Treter Gonçalves12 and Paulo Dornelles Picon1234

Author affiliations

1 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil

2 Centro de Monitorização de Medicamentos Injetáveis (CAMMI), Hospital Sanatório Partenon, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

3 Department of Internal Medicine, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA), Porto Alegre, Brazil

4 Health Department of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

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Citation and License

BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:377  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-377

Published: 27 December 2012

Abstract

Background

More than 50% of patients infected with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) do not respond to treatment with conventional interferon (IFN) combined with ribavirin (RBV). The aim of our study was to evaluate the effectiveness of retreatment with peginterferon alfa-2a or 2b (PEG-IFN 2a or 2b) concomitantly with RBV in patients with HCV genotype 2 and 3, which were non-responders or relapsers to initial treatment with IFN / RBV and to identify possible predictors of sustained virological response (SVR).

Methods

From September 2003 to March 2009 a cohort of 216 patients who had previously failed therapy with a regimen of standard interferon and ribavirin, were followed in a specialized service implemented in the Brazilian Unified Health System, Rio Grande do Sul. All patients were retreated with PEG-IFN 2a or 2b per week, associated with RBV, through oral route, with doses determined according to weight (1,000 mg if weight ≤ 75 Kg and 1,250 mg if ≥ 75 Kg) per day for 48 weeks. The HCV-RNA was tested by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Virological Response (VR) within 48 weeks and SVR in the 72 weeks was considered for evaluation of treatment efficacy. Analyses were performed in patients who received at least one dose of PEG-IFN.

Results

The SVR rate for non-responders to previous treatment was 34.4% and for relapsers was 50% (p = 0.031). As predictive factors that contribute to improve SVR, were identified the age (p = 0.005), to be relapsers to previous treatment (p = 0.023) and present liver biopsy examination Metavir F0-F2 (p = 0.004). In assessing the safety profile, 51 patients (23.6%) discontinued treatment prematurely.

Conclusions

This alternative retreatment for patients who have failed prior therapies for anti-HCV, has demonstrated promising SVR rate, provided that it includes a careful selection of patients with predictors of response and adverse events monitored.

Keywords:
Hepatitis C; Retreatment; Peginterferon alpha; Ribavirin