A new study in Japan examining the effects of combination therapy on older patients with hepatitis C found more adverse effects necessitating discontinuation of treatment, lowering of dosages, and lower long-term benefits in this age group.
The results of this study appear in the January 2006 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hepatology is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), the most common cause of liver disease, affects approximately 300 million people worldwide. The virus was seen in the Japanese population decades before the U.S., with the result that HCV patients in Japan are 10 to 15 years older than patients in western countries. The standard treatment is combination therapy with interferon or pegylated interferon (a newer form of the drug that is thought to be more effective) and the antiviral drug ribavirin. However, this treatment tends to be associated with adverse effects that lead to either a dose reduction or discontinuation of therapy in up to 28 percent of patients.
David Greenberg | EurekAlert!
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