Use of epoetin beta during combination therapy of infection with hepatitis c virus with ribavirin improves a sustained viral response

Infectious Diseases Clinic, Department of Medicine and Science of Ageing. G. d'Annunzio University, Chieti-Pescara, Italy.

Journal of Medical Virology. 2010;82((1):):49-56.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of epoetin-beta on anemia and sustained viral response in patients with chronic hepatitis C receiving treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Forty-two Caucasian patients with chronic hepatitis C infection, treated with pegylated interferon alpha-2a or alpha-2b plus ribavirin, who experienced at least a 2 log decline in HCV-RNA in the first month of therapy and a > or =2. 5 g/dl hemoglobin drop from baseline, were recruited. They were divided into two groups: 22 patients received epoetin-beta 30,000 U administered s. c. q. w. (group A) and 20 patients received a reduced ribavirin dose of 600 mg daily (group B). The end-of-treatment response was 95. 4% (21/22) in group A and 80% (16/20) (P = 0. 2) in group B. Sustained viral response in group A was 81. 8% (18/22), statistically higher than in group B (45%, 9/20) (P = 0. 03). Mean corpuscular volume of erythrocytes was statistically lower in group A than in group B 4 weeks after starting epoetin-beta or reduced ribavirin dose (P < 0. 001), end-of-treatment (P < 0. 001) and after 6 months follow-up (P < 0. 001). A negative correlation between the levels of ferritin serum was found in group A at the baseline and mean corpuscular volume value after 1 month of combination antiviral therapy (r = -0. 45; P = 0. 35), 4 weeks after starting epoetin-beta (r = -0. 43; P = 0. 04) and after 6 months follow-up (r = -0. 45; P = 0. 03). Administration of epoetin-beta increases sustained viral response rates among patients developing anemia, because the standard dose of ribavirin is maintained, thereby reducing the side-effects of antiviral treatment.
Study details
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