Study: 99 Percent of Pegasys Responders Virus Free Up to Four
Ninty nine percent of the hepatitis C patients who responded to
treatment with Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a) have remained virus
free up to four years later, according to results presented at the
38th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of
"This information tells us that when a patient achieves a
sustained virological response, they are indeed really 'cured',"Dr.
Mark Swain, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of
Calgary in Canada "This is a critical message for patients whether
they are about to start therapy or in the midst of it -- the end
result is worth it."
Researchers for Roche, which markets the drug, said a possible
explanation for the success of Pegasys may be found in another
study showing that levels of the drug -- which hepatitis C patients
take once weekly -- remain constant in the body over the seven-day
period thereby suppressing the virus on a constant basis.
The researchers said that in contrast, half of patients treated
with PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b) -- a rival drug marketed by
Schering -- had no detectable drug in their bodies by the fifth day
after their weekly injection, potentially resulting in renewed
"Our study demonstrated a difference in drug levels between the
two pegylated interferons," said Dr. Raffaele Bruno, University of
Pavia, Italy. "We concluded that Peg-Intron should be intensified
from its current once weekly dose to a twice-weekly dose to avoid
the hepatitis C virus from replicating."
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