• Shafqut Ali
  • Ghazala Nazir
  • Shahbaz Ali Khan
  • Samia Iram
  • Fozia Fatima


Background: Hepatitis C is an epidemic worldwide since discovery in 1989. Conventional interferonalpha-2b plus Ribavirin therapy was started in 1998 but over all sustained viral response (SVR) ratesare much below the desired rates to eradicate the diseases and stopping its epidemic. This study wasconducted to access the therapeutic and cost-effectiveness of long acting pegylated interferon alpha-2bplus Ribavirin therapy verses conventional interferon alpha-2b plus Ribavirin. Methods: Thiscomparative study was done at PAF Hospital Shorkot Cantt from July 2005 to July 2008. One hundredanti-HCV positive patients were selected randomly for the study according to willingness due to costaffordability of the patients for conventional interferon. Group-A was labelled as pegylated interferonalpha-2b plus Ribavirin group, and Group-B interferon alpha-2b plus Ribavirin group. Both groupswere given treatment for 24 weeks. Early virological response (EVR) was accessed at 12 weeks oftreatment. Sustained virological response (SVR) in both the groups was done at 24th week during thetreatment and 6 monthly after treatment for 2 years. Initially non-responders and relapsed patientswithin 2 years of treatment were re-treated for 24 weeks with the same treatment. In both groups nonresponders and relapsed patients were labelled as resistant patients. Both groups were followed withsame protocol for 2 years. Results: Out of 100 patients included in the study, 34% were females and66% were males. Group-A patients over all showed 94% SVR as compare to 80% in Group-B in 2 yearfollow-up. Group-A showed 6% resistant patients as compare to Group-B (20%). Conventionalinterferons were better tolerated. Higher incidence of side-effects was seen in Group-A. Conclusion:Pegylated interferon plus Ribavirin showed 94% SVR in 2 years. Pegylated interferon plus Ribavirin isthe treatment of choice.Keywords: Anti-HCV, ELISA, PCR, SVR, Pegylated-interferon, Interferon Alpha-2b, Ribavirin


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