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A meta-analysis that compares the use of either peginterferon-α2a or peginterferon-α2b plus ribavirin for HCV infection

Authors Xiao, Shi, Zhuang H

Published 28 July 2010 Volume 2010:2 Pages 99—109


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Nan Xiao*, Shuang Shi*, Hui Zhuang

Department of Microbiology, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China, *These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Two kinds of peginterferons, peginterferon-α2a (PEG-IFN-α2a) and peginterferon-α2b (PEG-IFN-α2b), are used in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, it is unclear which is better in terms of virological responses and patient compliance. We conducted a meta-analysis to assess which peginterferon was better when used with ribavirin.
Methods: Relevant clinical trials were identified through the PubMed and EMBASE databases. Primary outcomes included early virological response (EVR), end of treatment response (ETR) and sustained virological response (SVR). Secondary outcomes included biochemical and histological responses and the discontinuation of treatment after adverse events. Meta-analysis was performed using fixed-effect or random-effect methods, depending on absence or presence of significant heterogeneity. Analyses were performed with Review Manager Version 4.2.2.
Results: Seven clinical trials were included that involved 3,526 patients in total; six were randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and one was nonrandomized. PEG-IFN-α2a plus ribavirin was better than PEG-IFN-α2b plus ribavirin with regards to ETR (relative risk [RR] = 1.21, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14–1.28). This advantage was less obvious for EVR (RR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.06–1.19) and SVR (RR = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.02–1.18). Patients who received PEG-IFN-α2a were less likely to discontinue treatment for safety reasons (RR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.52–1.38).
Conclusion: We demonstrated that PEG-IFN-α2a was a better choice than PEG-IFN-α2b in terms of virological responses.

Keywords: peginterferon-α2a (PEG-IFN-α2a), peginterferon-α2b (PEG-IFN-α2b), ribavirin, chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, treatment

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