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Impact of Ribavirin Reduction Study

Feb 25, 2009 - 3 comments

Optimizing the Current Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C Virus:
Peginterferon and Ribavirin Dosing and the Utility of Growth Factors
Clin Liver Dis 12 (2008) 487–505
Mitchell L. Shiffman, MD

Impact of adverse events and dose reduction

As opposed to interrupting or prematurely stopping ribavirin, which enhances breakthrough and relapse, recent data suggest that merely reducing the dose of ribavirin in response to adverse events does not significantly affect these milestones, and therefore has little impact on the SVR.

A more recent analysis has evaluated the impact of stepwise ribavirin dosing, from greater than 97% to less than 60% of the total expected cumulative dose, on virologic response and SVR [9].

It is important to note that this study included only those patients who remained on full-dose peginterferon for 48 weeks, and therefore evaluated the impact of reducing only the ribavirin dose. No significant impact of ribavirin dose on virologic response was observed.

A significant decline in SVR (from 57% to 67% to only 34%) did occur but only when the total cumulative ribavirin dose declined to less than 60%.

In fact, the medical and nursing staff at the author’s institution frequently perform a one-step (200 mg) ribavirin reduction in a patient who has developed severe fatigue even if the hemoglobin has not declined to less than 10 mg/dL. This small reduction in the ribavirin dose does not have a significant impact on the total cumulative ribavirin exposure (see Fig. 6) and, in many cases, yields significant symptomatic improvement and allows the patient to be more enthusiastic about continuing therapy.

The goal of dose reduction is to prevent the hemoglobin from decreasing so much that the patient must interrupt ribavirin dosing, which clearly increases the risks of breakthrough and relapse.

(Thanks to CockSparrow for finding this)

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by Marcia2202, Feb 25, 2009
Thanks... very interesting!

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by Deb_c430, Feb 25, 2009
Just make sure you do not go lower than 800, poor epi, we are all almost done.   Life can be good again for us all.

Hugs girly girl

Avatar universal
by TJohn257, Feb 25, 2009
I began my treatment in May 2008 (viral load was 2M) and I went negative in October.  My treatment (PegInterferon/Riba) was interrupted when I came down with double pneumonia on January 1. Three weeks after being released from the hospital, a viral load was performed, I was one million positive.  Much concern and consultation was done as to how to proceed and whether it should be with same course of treatment.  Began increased dose of Riba and  same dose PegInterf 7 days ago and will need to take the full course of treatment (48 weeks or more).  My side effects are worse then when I first started back in May 2008.  I hope that the interruption will not impede my ability to reach a negative result.  

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