Cochrane systematic review: pegylated interferon plus ribavirin vs. interferon plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C

Authors

  • M. SIMIN,

    1. The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
    2. Department of Gastroenterology, Clinics of Internal Medicine, Rijeka University Hospital, Rijeka, Croatia
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  • J. BROK,

    1. The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • D. STIMAC,

    1. Department of Gastroenterology, Clinics of Internal Medicine, Rijeka University Hospital, Rijeka, Croatia
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  • C. GLUUD,

    1. The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • L. L. GLUUD

    1. The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
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Dr M. Simin, The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Department 33.44, Blegdamesvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.
E-mail: marija.simin@gmail.com

SUMMARY

Background  About 170 million patients worldwide have chronic hepatitis C. Pegylated interferon plus ribavirin is currently the recommended therapy.

Aim  To evaluate the beneficial and harmful effects of pegylated interferon plus ribavirin vs. interferon plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C infection.

Methods  We searched The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS, Science Citation Index Expanded and contacted pharmaceutical companies and authors of trials (to March 2005).

Results  We included 18 randomized clinical trials with 4811 patients. Eleven trials (61%) had allocation bias risks and all had assessment bias risk because of lack of blinding. Compared with interferon plus ribavirin, pegylated interferon plus ribavirin had significant beneficial effects on sustained virological response [risk ratio (RR): 0.80; 95% CI: 0.74–0.88]. Data were insufficient to determine impact on long-term outcomes. Pegylated interferon plus ribavirin significantly increased dose reductions (RR: 1.44; 95% CI: 1.14–1.82) and adverse events including neutropenia (RR: 2.25; 95% CI: 1.58–3.21), thrombocytopenia (RR: 2.28; 95% CI: 1.14–4.54), arthralgia (RR: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.05–1.35), and injection-site reaction (RR: 2.56; 95% CI: 1.06–6.22).

Conclusions  Pegylated interferon plus ribavirin compared with interferon plus ribavirin increased the proportion of patients with sustained virological response, but at the cost of more adverse events.

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