Lege Artis Medicinae

[The treatment of chronic hepatitis C with peginterferon - Peginterferon alfa-2a or alfa-2b?]

TORNAI István

JUNE 20, 2010

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2010;20(06-07)

[The main purpose of the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C is to achieve a sustained virologic remission (SVR), which means that no hepatitis C virus ribonucleic acid (HCV RNA) is detectable 24 weeks after the cessation of treatment. In patients infected by genotype 1 virus, the chance of achieving SVR by a combination treatment with peginterferon alfa-2a or alfa-2b plus ribavirin is about 40-50%. The pharmacokinetic properties of the two peginterferons are significantly different from each other. A number of clinical trials have been performed in the past eight years to clarify whether this difference influences the clinical efficiency or safety of these drugs. Several prospective, comparative studies have been completed recently. Among these, the American IDEAL study is the largest and most important one, however, the results of numberous smaller studies are also available. More than 3000 patients with genotype 1 HCV were treated in the IDEAL study and no significant difference was found in SVR rates between the peginterferon alfa-2a and alfa-2b treatment arms. However, the doses of ribavirin used in this study raise several questions in this study. In two smaller Italian studies, significantly higher SVR was achieved with peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavarin treatment. According to a Cochrane metaanalysis, in which reviewed data of 4335 patients from eight randomized trails have been reviewed, treatment with peginterferon alfa-2a is significantly more effective. Besides efficiency, the cost/effectiveness of the two therapies were also compared in a large American study, which also showed that peginterferon alfa-2a treatment was superior to peginterferon alfa-2b treatment.]

COMMENTS

0 comments

Further articles in this publication

Lege Artis Medicinae

[The Oto-Rhino-Laryngology Aspects of George Washington’s Death]

GERLINGER Imre

Lege Artis Medicinae

[New perspectives of the treatment of hypertensive disease. The triple combination]

BARNA István

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Disease Transmission – transplantatio morborum]

MAGYAR László András

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Gastrointestinal haemorrhages and their management - Guidelines of the College of Neonatology and Paediatrics]

ARATÓ András, VERES Gábor, DEZSŐFI Antal

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Giant abdominal cyst mimicking ascites]

ERŐSS Bálint, BENKŐ Tamás, NEMESÁNSZKY Elemér

All articles in the issue

Related contents

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Treatment of hepatits C virus infected patients with cirrhosis in real-life conditions in Hungary with the two pegylated interferons]

[AIMS - In this trial we have analyzed the data of cirrhotic naiv as well as treatment experienced patients with chronic hepatitis C, treated in the East-Hungarian hepatology centers, between 2004 and 2010, because in the era of triple combinations, we mostly treat cirrhotic patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS - We have found 272 patients and in most of them the cirrhosis was proven by biopsy. These patients were treated with pegylated interferon (pegIFN) alpha plus ribavirin in combination, 172 were naiv and 100 patients were treatment experienced. Data were collected retrospectively and the pretreatment parameters like age, sex, body weight, transaminase level, genotype, initial viral load, comorbidities, and proportion of first and repeated treatments have been analyzed. We have investigated the influence of the initial parameters as well as the type of pegIFN on the complete early virologic response (cEVR) and on the sustained virological response (SVR). RESULTS - The cEVR was 27% (74/272) and the SVR was 21% (58/272) in the whole patient population. With pegIFN a-2a, 32% (45/141) cEVR and 28% (39/141) SVR, whereas with pegIFN a-2b 22% (29/131) cEVR and 15% (19/131) SVR were achieved. Among this patient population the largest subgroup was the naiv patients with high viral load (HVL). In this subgroup the SVR was 21% (28/132). However, with pegIFN a-2a SVR was 29% (21/73), whereas with pegIFN a-2b SVR was only 12% (7/59). The above differences found between the two pegIFNs proved to be statistically significant. Age <40 years, low viral load (LVL) and treatment with pegIFN a-2a proved to be independent positive factors influencing cEVR as well as SVR, by multiple logistic regression analysis. CONCLUSION - According to these results, cirrhotic patients with hepatitis C may benefit if pegIFN a-2a is used as backbone therapy in triple combinations. ]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[The choice of antibiotic therapy from the viewpoint of an economist]

KIS Zoltán

[OBJECTIVES - Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in various bacterial infections is a growing problem in everyday clinical practice. The development of resistance is related to the clinical use of antibiotics, which substantially influences the efficiency of antimicrobial therapy. Inappropriately chosen therapy may increase the cost of treatment because of reduced efficacy and potential unwanted outcomes, adverse effects. Prolonged duration of treatment and increased use of diagnostic and therapeutic resources (including all medication expenses) contribute to the increased costs of treatment. The aim of our study was to demonstrate the differences in the total cost of therapy during hospitalization in certain patient groups, depending on the efficiency of the chosen antibiotic therapy. METHODS - We examined acute abdominal episodes, which represent one of the most typical surgical diseases. We analysed 59 hospital in-patient episodes that occurred in a six-month period, using aggregated hospital data. On the basis of the first choice of antibiotic we compared the average duration of antibiotic therapy and hospital stay, the incidence of medical complications and the cost of all these factors. RESULTS - The available results of our pilot study show that the length of hospital stay and the total cost of treatment may substantially increase even in the short term as a result of an inadequate choice of antibiotic, as the total cost of treatment is affected not only by the daily cost of antibiotic therapy, but also by its efficiency. In the long term, the risk of potentially developing resistance also necessitates an accurate choice of therapy, which requires institutional infection control and the prescription and implementation of protocols. These must be supported by cost-effectiveness analyses that include costs as well as results.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[“War of numbers” and the facts about pegylated interferon based treatment of chronic hepatitis C]

MAKARA Mihály, HUNYADY Béla

[Further to the traditional pegylated interferon and ribavirin products, used since 2001 in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, two new direct antiviral protease inhibitors were licensed in 2011: telaprevir and boceprevir. Added to the traditional dual combination either of these drugs increase significantly the rate of sustained viral response. Discussions over the relative efficacy of two different bands of interferons with different pharmacokinetic properties as well as of the different protease inhibitors are arising regularly. After critical review of the relevant literature the authors did not identify any clinically meaningful differences in efficacy of the two pegylated interferons (α 2a or α 2b) neither in dual nor in triple combination therapies. There has been no convincing evidence found to support superiority of one protease inhibitor over the other, either: Generally both drugs can be recommended for patients previously or actually not responding to dual therapy. However, there is a tendency towards a potential difference between the relapse rates after treatments with the two pegylated interferons in dual therapy, attributable potentially to the difference of their pharmacokinetic profiles. In special cases the choice of protease inhibitors can be influenced by cost-effectiveness and side effect profile.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF PIMECROLIMUS CREAM - A NEW TREATMENT FOR ATOPIC DERMATITIS IN HUNGARY]

KÓSA József, HUNYADI János, SZALAI Zsuzsanna, KÖRMENDY Miklós, KALÓ Zoltán

[OBJECTIVE - To assess the costs, consequences and cost-effectiveness of pimecrolimus cream 1% in the treatment of children with atopic dermatitis in Hungary. METHODS - A Markov-model for atopic dermatitis developed by the Erasmus University (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) was adopted to the Hungarian health care setting. The model is based on a double-blind, multicenter, randomized, parallelgroup study. Patients were randomised (2:1) to receive pimecrolimus treatment (i.e. emollients, pimecrolimus, medium potency topical corticosteroids) or standard of care (emollients, vehicle, medium potency topical corticosteroids). The study was conducted in children and adolescents (2 to 18 years of age). Hungarian cost vectors were calculated by linking severity of disease as defined by Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA) to average resource use. Resource use was multiplied by drug costs and unit costs as published in official databases. RESULTS - Pimecrolimus treatment has an incremental cost of HUF 143 897 over standard care. This additional cost of care resulted in an incremental 0.05 QALY gain over the 6 months period. The incremental cost effectiveness ratio was 2 863 913 HUF/QALY for the pimecrolimus therapy. CONCLUSION - Pimecrolimus is more costeffective than many other health care interventions currently reimbursed by the Hungarian National Health Fund.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Crucial points in the therapy of hepatitis C]

MAKARA Mihály, HUNYADY Béla

[The first generation of direct acting antivirals represented a milestone in the therapy of hepatitis C but other breakthroughs are on the way with imminent authorization of new antiviral drugs and interferon-free combinations. The prices of these new agents necessitate the rational use of limited financial capacities: relatively cheaper interferon-based treatments could be used first for those who can be cured with these combinations, while the most expensive treatments are to be reserved for those with no other options. In the future, interferonfree regimens will likely be used first in those patients who did not respond to firstgeneration interferon-based regimens and in whom interferon therapy is contraindicated. To avoid complications of the disease, currently it is reasonable to treat all eligible patients with advanced fibrosis, particularly those with compensated cirrhosis, with interferon-based treatments. In some instances other medical or social conditions warrant prompt treatment. The triage of treatments is based on the Priority Index in Hungary. Current triple therapies with protease inhibitors are complicated by drug and food interactions as well as by frequent (sometimes severe) side effects. General practitioners and other specialists need to be involved in managing these issues. It is of utmost importance to refer patients to hepatology care before decompensation or development of hepatocellular carcinoma. The key of timely and accurate diagnosis is organized anti-HCV screening in populations at risk and in the age group with the highest prevalence.]