News from Hepatitis Week of Sept. 28, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 39
Two Hepatitis C Therapies To Go Head-To-Head in Upcoming Trial

Two leading hepatitis C therapies -- Peg-Intron® and Pegasys® -- will square off head-to-head in an upcoming clinical trial.

Schering-Plough announced September 23 that it would initiate a major study involving 2,880 hepatitis C genotype 1 patients that would compare the two approved forms of pegylated interferon therapy.

Schering-Plough makes Peg-Intron, while Hoffmann-La Roche makes Pegasys. Both are used in combination with ribavirin.

The study is being conducted in response to requests by hepatitis C patients and providers, and to clear up misperceptions in the marketplace about these two treatments, according to Schering-Plough.

The trial will compare individualized weight-based dosing of Peg-Intron against Pegasys, which is given in a flat dose to all patients regardless of body weight.

Peg-Intron is a form of interferon alfa-2b that has been chemically pegylated so it is retained in the body longer than standard interferon. Pegasys is a pegylated form of interferon alfa-2a.

Co-researcher Dr. John McHutchison, medical director of liver research at Duke University Medical Center, said the study is important because previous studies of the two drugs cannot be compared due to differences in study design, patients and other variables.

Co-researcher Dr. Mark Sulkowski, medical director of viral hepatitis at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said hepatitis C patients and providers want answers about the two treatments as they seek the best available options.

Other sources: Schering-Plough Corporation