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Lege Artis Medicinae

DECEMBER 19, 2008


PÁR Alajos

[As the results of antiviral therapy for hepatitis B and C infections are still suboptimal, attention has been given to the strategies to maximize the effectiveness of currently available therapeutic modalities. In this approach, individualized management - based on predictive factors that influence response to treatment - is a key component. The paper summarizes how predictors can assist in optimizing therapy of patients with chronic viral hepatitis. In chronic hepatitis B, a favorable response to interferon or nucleoside/ nucleotide therapy can be expected in young, HBeAg-positive patients with alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values >2-5× upper limit of normal, histological activity >4-10, HBV DNA <105 copies/ml (<20,000 IU/ml), and infection with HBV genotype A or B. Virological response at 12 and 24 weeks (>1 log10 decrease in HBV DNA titer or a titer of <400 IU/ml) may assist in decisions about treatment continuation or switching to another therapeutic option. In chronic hepatitis C, before interferon/ribavirin treatment, non-modifiable predictors are age, sex, race, cirrhosis, HCV genotype and HCV RNA titer. HCV1 genotype is an important negative predictor. Modifiable factors are body mass index, insulin resistance, diabetes, depression and cytopenias, which can be corrected in order to improve the chance of therapeutic success. During treatment, rapid (week 4), early (week 12), or slow (week 24) virological response may determine the duration of treatment (24, 48, or 72 weeks), and predict the likelihood of sustained virological response. Most important positive predictor is rapid response at week 4, similarly complete early response (at week 12) is also of value concerning the duration of therapy and even in the aspect of re-treatment. Body weight-adapted ribavirin dosing and patient adherence are important factors of therapeutic success, as well.]