• chronic hepatitis C;
  • drug exposure;
  • genotype 2;
  • peginterferon and ribavirin combination therapy

Summary.  Reducing the dose of drug affects treatment efficacy in pegylated interferon (Peg-IFN) and ribavirin combination therapy for patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of drug exposure, as well as the baseline factors and the virological response on the treatment efficacy for genotype 2 patients. Two-hundred and fifty patients with genotype 2 HCV who were to undergo combination therapy for 24 weeks were included in the study, and 213 completed the treatment. Significantly more patients who achieved a rapid virological response (RVR), defined as HCV RNA negativity at week 4, achieved a sustained virological response (SVR) (92%, 122/133) compared with patients who failed to achieve RVR (48%, 38/80) (P < 0.0001). Multivariate logistic-regression analysis showed that only platelet counts [odds ratio (OR), 1.68; confidence interval (CI), 1.002–1.139] and RVR (OR, 11.251; CI, 5.184–24.419) were independently associated with SVR, with no correlation being found for the mean dose of Peg-IFN and ribavirin for RVR and SVR. Furthermore, in the stratification analysis of the timing of viral clearance, neither mean dose of Peg-IFN (P = 0.795) nor ribavirin (P = 0.649) affected SVR in each group. Among the patients with RVR, the lowest dose group of Peg-IFN (0.77 ± 0.10 μg/kg/week) and ribavirin (6.9 ± 0.90 mg/kg/day) showed 100% and 94% of SVR. Hence, RVR served as an important treatment predictor, and drug exposure had no impact on both SVR and RVR in combination therapy for genotype 2 patients.