Optimal therapy in genotype 1 patients


Stefan Zeuzem, M.D., Department of Medicine I, J.W. Goethe University Hospital, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt, Germany.
Tel: +49 69 6301 4544
Fax: +49 69 6301 6448
e-mail: zeuzem@em.uni-frankfurt.de


Most infections with hepatitis C virus (HCV) fail to resolve spontaneously and progress to chronic hepatitis C. Genotype 1 HCV accounts for most hepatitis C infections in North America, Western Europe, and Japan. Patients infected with HCV genotype 1 are the most resistant to treatment, which results in poor treatment outcomes. Although sustained virologic response (SVR) rates have significantly improved with introduction of combination therapy with pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin, the rates are still lower than those in genotype 2 or 3 infections. This review discusses how treatment outcomes in patients with HCV genotype 1 infection can be optimized by using the drugs currently licensed for treatment of hepatitis C: pegylated interferon alfa-2a/b and ribavirin. Dose modifications and variations of treatment duration are the two strategies that have been investigated best, so far. Treatment – naïve patients and non-responders and relapsers to prior antiviral therapy are discussed separately.