he New England Journal of Medicines Sept. 26 issue carries the first published report showing that a combination treatment with peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys) - a new long-acting interferon drug - and an antiviral medication is more beneficial than the standard combination therapy for people with the most-difficult-to-treat and most common strain of hepatitis C.
The large international study, headed by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is also the first published one to show that treatment with the investigational drug peginterferon alfa-2a in combination with the oral antiviral medication, ribavirin, is linked to a lower rate of troublesome side effects - depression, flu-like symptoms (chills, headache and fever) - than the standard interferon (Rebetron) and ribavirin.
"Sixty-five percent of patients in the study were infected with hepatitis C genotype 1, the most prevalent genotype we see here in the United States, and typically the least responsive to therapy," said study co-author Dr. Michael W. Fried, associate professor of medicine and director of clinical hepatology at the UNC School of Medicine.
Leslie Lang | EurekAlert!
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