Daily injection more effective than thrice-weekly interferon alpha-2b for HCV/HIV

For patients co-infected with HIV and the hepatitis C virus (HCV), daily administration of interferon alpha-2b is more than twice as effective as the traditional three times/week regimen in suppressing HCV loads. This finding was presented Friday at the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s 39th annual meeting in San Francisco.

A total of 180 such patients were randomly assigned to daily or thrice-weekly dosing with 3 mIU interferon-alpha-2b, plus 800 mg/day oral ribavirin. More than 85% of subjects were also using highly active antiretroviral therapy.

At 12 weeks, 31.6% of patients receiving daily injections had reductions in blood HCV levels to below the level of detection, compared with 12.1% of those receiving interferon three times/week.

“Because daily administration is more effective than the standard, this suggests that recently approved pegylated interferon will be a better choice for this population,” presenter Dr. Mark Sulkowski, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, told Reuters Health. With the new preparation, he said, injections would be once a week, but blood interferon levels would be maintained at a level similar to those observed after once-daily injection.

“An added plus was that neither regimen appeared to adversely affect any HIV parameters,” Dr. Sulkowski added.

Source: Reuters Health

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