Aim: To determine the efficacy of an interferon alpha and ribavirin combination treatment for Japanese patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) of genotype 2, a multi-center study was retrospectively analyzed. Methods: In total, 173 patients with HCV genotype 2 started to receive interferon-alpha subcutaneously thrice a week and 600-800 mg of ribavirin daily for 24 wk. Results: The overall sustained virological response (SVR), defined as undetectable HCV RNA in serum, 24 wk after the end of treatment, was remarkably high by 84.4%, (146/173) by an intention-to-treat analysis. A significant difference in SVR was found between patients with and without the discontinuation of ribavirin (46.9% vs 92.9%), but no difference was found between those with and without a dose reduction of ribavirin. A significant difference in SVR was also found between patients with less than 16 wk and patients with 16 or more weeks of ribavirin treatment (34.8% vs 92.0%). Conclusion: The 24-wk interferon and ribavirin treatment is highly effective for Japanese patients with HCV genotype 2. The significant predictor of SVR is continuation of the ribavirin treatment for up to 16 weeks.
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