Background and Aim: In the present study, we evaluated the safety and efficacy of combination therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin for treating chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients aged 60 years and older.
Methods: A total of 314 CHC patients, who were treated with combination therapy, were classified into three groups according to age: (i) younger than 50 years (n = 137); (ii) 50–59 years (n = 109); and (iii) 60 years or older (n = 68). The sustained virological response (SVR) and discontinuation rates were compared between the three groups.
Results: Discontinuation of therapy due to adverse event was more frequent in the older patient groups: 1%, 5%, and 10% for the < 50-year, the 50–59-year, and the ≥ 60-year patient groups, respectively (P = 0.018). However, the older patient groups showed a SVR rate that was comparable to the SVR rates of the other age groups: 80%, 73%, and 75% for the < 50-year, 50–59-year, and ≥ 60-year- patient groups, respectively (P = 0.420). A multivariate analysis showed that the aspartate aminotransferase : platelet ratio index (APRI) was an independent predictor of an SVR. An SVR was achieved in 95% (19/20) of the elderly patients with an APRI < 0.80.
Conclusions: Although physicians must pay more attention to adverse events in the older patients, combination therapy can be considered for older patients, especially for patients with a low APRI.