Dual therapy may be slightly less effective than triple therapy for chronic infection with hepatitis C virus

Comparative Effectiveness Research

According to a new research review by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), patients with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) who achieve a sustained virologic response (SVR), i.e., undetectable levels of HVC 6 months after completing treatment, appear to have a lower risk of death compared with those without an SVR. Dual therapy with pegylated interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin was slightly less likely to achieve an SVR compared with dual therapy with pegylated interferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin (a difference of approximately 8 percentage points).

HCV is the most common chronic bloodborne pathogen in the United States. Based on a national survey of households, approximately 1.6 percent of U.S. adults over 20 years of age have antibodies to HCV, indicating prior acute HCV infection. SVR rates are substantially higher (66–88 percent) in patients who receive FDA-approved triple therapy regimens with pegylated interferon (alfa-2a or alfa-2b), ribavirin, and boceprevir or telaprevir compared with dual therapy with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin. Given the availability of new treatment options, it is particularly important to understand the comparative benefits and harms of dual and triple therapy treatments.

Treatment for Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adults suggests more research is needed to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of current antiviral treatments on long-term clinical outcomes such as mortality, complications of chronic HCV infection, and quality of life. To access this review and other materials that explore the effectiveness and risks of treatment options for various conditions visit AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site at http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov.

Page last reviewed January 2013
Internet Citation: Dual therapy may be slightly less effective than triple therapy for chronic infection with hepatitis C virus: Comparative Effectiveness Research. January 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/13jan/0113RA28.html