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

Study: Hepatitis C Patients Find Pegasys More Tolerable

After just two weeks of beginning treatment with Pegasys, chronic hepatitis C patients had more vitality and less fatigue, pain and physical and emotional problems than those treated with conventional interferon.

Previous studies have shown that conventional interferon produces negative side effects that hamper the ability of hepatitis C patients to perform their daily activities. As a result, many patients have discontinued treatment.

These new findings about Pegasys (pegylated interferon) provide further evidence of its tolerability and potential for ensuring that hepatitis C patients will continue a full course of treatment, according to study author Dr. Jens Rasenack, professor of medicine at the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Germany.

The researchers compared health-related quality of life during treatment for chronic hepatitis C patients who had never been treated with interferon. The 267 patients receiving Pegasys did so once a week for 48 weeks, while the 264 patients receiving conventional interferon did so three times a week for 48 weeks.

At weeks 2, 12 and 24, patients receiving Pegasys had less disabling fatigue and less impairment in patient functioning and well-being than those receiving conventional interferon.

The researchers concluded that the impact on quality of life might be an important consideration for physicians when selecting an optimal treatment regimen for patients with chronic hepatitis C.

Other sources: Roche, PharmoEconomics (21: 5, 341-349)