Background: Not enough data are available about the effectiveness of consensus interferon (CIFN) among HCV genotype 3 patients who failed to respond to pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Objectives: We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of CIFN and ribavirin in non-responders and relapsers to pegylated interferon with ribavirin therapy. Patients and Methods: This open-label investigator-initiated study included 44 patients who received CIFN 15 μg /day plus ribavirin 800-1200 mg daily. In patients with an early virological response (EVR), the dose of CIFN was reduced to 15 μg thrice a week for further 36 weeks. Patients with delayed virological response continued to receive daily CIFN plus ribavirin to complete 48 weeks. The patients were considered "non-responders" if there were less than 2 log reduction in HCV RNA at 12 weeks and detectable HCV RNA at 24 weeks. Results: Twenty-four patients (55%) were non-responders and 20 patients were relapsers to the previous treatment with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (mean age 43.6 ± 9.4 years, males 25 (57%)). Nine patients were clinically cirrhotic (Child A). End of treatment virological response was achieved in 19 (43.1%) patients and sustained virological response (SVR) occurred in 12 (27.3%). Out of these 12 patients, eight were non-responders and four were relapsers to the previous treatment. Advanced fibrosis or clinical cirrhosis was associated with low SVR. Adverse events were fever, myalgia, anorexia, depression, and weight loss. Two patients received granulocyte colony stimulating factor for transient neutropenia. Seven patients were given erythropoietin to improve hemoglobin, and six were treated for mild depression. Two patients developed portosystemic encephalopathy. Conclusions: More than one-quarter of treatment-experienced patients with HCV genotype 3 achieved SVR after re-treatment with consensus interferon plus ribavirin.
- Hepatitis C