Lege Artis Medicinae

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


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.]



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[The treatment of osteoporosis and its consequences place a significant burden on the health care of developed countries. Modern therapeutical approaches are able to efficiently decrease the risk of osteoporotic bone fractures. However, we do not know whether the interventions introduced in the past 15 years have significantly reduced the number of osteoporotic fractures in real life, and if they have, how cost-effective this effect was. To answer these questions, we have analysed data of the Hungarian National Insurance Company collected between 2004-2010. During these 7 years, the number of bone fractures among patients treated for osteoporosis continuously decreased. This was also observed in the incidence of hip fractures. Interestingly, the mortality of osteoporotic patients was significantly lower than that of the same age group in the average population. Besides the efficient treatment of osteoporosis, this finding is also due to the outstanding general care provided by the specialised osteoporosis centers of the country. As a consequence of the reduction in fractures, 3.4 billion HUF was saved per year by the insurance company, which is approximately equal to the 3.5 billion HUF spent on the reimbursement of medicines used for the treatment of osteoporosis, which means that the investments show a return. The calculation of the quality- adjusted life years, which is the internationally accepted method of the WHO for the study of cost-effectiveness, shows that the above results were achieved in a remarkably cost-efficient way. At the same time, it is noteworthy and calls for caution that the decrease in reimbursement by the insurance company in 2007 resulted in a 51% drop in the number of patients receiving treatment, which radically reduced the observed efficiency.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

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

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Lege Artis Medicinae

[The role of hepatitis C virus in the development of non-Hodgkin lymphomas]


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