News from Hepatitis Week of March 16, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 11

Study: Interferon and Ribavirin Shown Effective in Hospital Clinic Setting

The combination therapy of interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin is as effective against hepatitis C when administered to patients in a hospital clinic setting as has been shown in clinical trials.

As reported in the March issue of the Medical Journal of Australia, researchers at Westmead Hospital in Australia studied 121 patients with similar demographic and viral characteristics as those in Australian clinical trials.

The researchers were testing the hypothesis that the effectiveness and tolerability of interferon alfa-2b/ribavirin combination therapy might be less in a hospital liver clinic setting than in clinical trials.

Half of the participants were previously untreated, while 38 had relapsed and 23 failed to respond after being treated with interferon and ribavirin. Sustained viral response was achieved in 53 percent of patients overall.

"These results are similar to those obtained in published trials," concluded the researchers, who noted that only 7 percent of the participants discontinued treatment because of adverse effects, which was fewer than reported in most clinical trials. Dose reduction was required in 18 percent of patients.

Other sources: Medical Journal of Australia 17;178(6):267-71