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A randomised study of peginterferon and ribavirin for 16 versus 24 weeks in patients with genotype 2 chronic hepatitis C
  1. Ming-Lung Yu1,
  2. Chia-Yen Dai3,
  3. Jee-Fu Huang4,
  4. Nai-Jen Hou3,
  5. Li-Po Lee1,
  6. Ming-Yen Hsieh1,
  7. Chang-Fu Chiu5,
  8. Zu-Yau Lin1,
  9. Shinn-Cherng Chen2,
  10. Ming-Yuh Hsieh1,2,
  11. Liang-Yen Wang2,
  12. Wen-Yu Chang2,
  13. Wan-Long Chuang
  1. 1Hepatobiliary Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  2. 2Faculty of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  3. 3Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Municipal Hsiao-Kang Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  4. 4Department of Internal Medicine, Foo Yin Hospital, Pintung, Taiwan
  5. 5Department of Internal Medicine, Paochien Hospital, Pintung, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Wan-Long Chuang
    Hepatobiliary Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, No 100, Tzyou 1st Road, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan; waloch{at}


Background: The recommended treatment for patients infected with hepatitis C virus genotype 2 (HCV2) is pegylated interferon (peginterferon) and ribavirin for 24 weeks.

Aim: To assess whether a shorter 16-week treatment is as effective as a standard 24-week treatment.

Methods: Patients with HCV2 infection were randomised in a 1:2 ratio to either 16 weeks (n = 50) or 24 weeks (n = 100) of treatment with peginterferon α-2a (180 μg/week) and weight-based ribavirin 1000–1200 mg/day, with a 24-week follow-up period. A rapid virological response (RVR) was defined as seronegative for HCV RNA at 4 weeks of treatment, and the primary end point, sustained virological response (SVR), as seronegative for HCV RNA at the 24-week follow-up.

Results: The rate of RVR and SVR was 86% (43/50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 76% to 96%) and 94% (47/50, CI 87% to 100%), respectively, in the 16-week group, which was comparable to 87% (87/100, CI 80% to 94%) and 95% (95/100, CI 91% to 99%) in the 24-week group. Patients with RVR had a significantly higher SVR rate than patients without RVR in both 16-week (100% vs 57%, p = 0.015) and 24-week groups (98% vs 77%, p = 0.002). Multivariate analysis showed that RVR and age were independent factors associated with SVR. Both treatment arms were equally well tolerated. The incidence of alopecia was significantly higher in the 24-week group (49%) than in the 16-week group (20%, p = 0.001).

Conclusion: 16 weeks and 24 weeks of peginterferon treatment with weight-based ribavirin at a dose of 1000–1200 mg/day provided equal efficacy in patients with HCV2 who achieved RVR at 4 weeks.

  • CHC, chronic hepatitis C
  • ETVR, end-of-treatment virological response
  • HCV, hepatitis C virus
  • RVR, rapid virological response
  • SVR, sustained virological response

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