Peginterferon Promising for Hepatitis Delta Virus

The drug seems equally effective with or without adefovir

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Peginterferon alfa-2a, with or without adefovir, shows promise in the treatment of hepatitis delta virus (HDV), according to research published in the Jan. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Heiner Wedemeyer, M.D., from Hannover Medical School in Germany, and colleagues randomized 90 patients with HDV infection to peginterferon alfa-2a plus adefovir, peginterferon plus placebo, or adefovir alone for 48 weeks to investigate the safety and efficacy of the three drug therapies in this patient population.

The researchers found that two patients in the peginterferon plus adefovir group, two patients in the peginterferon plus placebo group, and none of the patients in the adefovir group achieved normalization of alanine aminotransferase levels and clearance of HDV RNA by week 48. Also by week 48, the HDV RNA test was negative in 23, 24, and 0 percent of patients in the three groups, respectively. The efficacy was sustained for 24 weeks after treatment, and 28 percent of the patients receiving peginterferon plus adefovir or peginterferon plus placebo had negative results on HDV RNA tests. None of those receiving adefovir alone had negative results.

"Treatment with peginterferon alfa-2a for 48 weeks, with or without adefovir, resulted in sustained HDV RNA clearance in about one quarter of patients with HDV infection," the authors write.

The research was supported in part by F. Hoffmann-La Roche and Gilead Sciences; several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Gilead and Roche.

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