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Taribavirin Shows Benefit in Hepatitis C Versus Ribavirin

Last Updated: September 28, 2010.

Taribavirin appears to be a safe and effective alternative to ribavirin for treating chronic hepatitis C, with lower associated rates of anemia, according to research published in the October issue of Hepatology.

TUESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Taribavirin (TBV) appears to be a safe and effective alternative to ribavirin (RBV) for treating chronic hepatitis C, with lower associated rates of anemia, according to research published in the October issue of Hepatology.

Fred Poordad, M.D., of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed data from 278 treatment-naive patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C. Patients were randomized to receive daily TBV at 20, 25, or 30 mg/kg or RBV plus pegylated interferon alfa-2b for 48 weeks.

The researchers found that the groups had similar early virologic response, the primary efficacy end point. Sustained virologic response rates were 28.4, 24.3, 20.6, and 21.4 percent in the groups, respectively. Anemia rates were significantly lower at the 20- and 25-mg TBV doses compared to RBV (13.4 and 15.7 percent, respectively, versus 32.9 percent). Fatigue, diarrhea, and insomnia were the most common adverse events in all the groups.

"Given the long wait between the approval of peg interferon and RBV and yet unapproved direct-acting antiviral agents, one should not discount the potential contribution of TBV," write the authors of an accompanying editorial. "If TBV can be shown to preserve or improve efficacy rates in combination with direct-acting antivirals and peg interferon, with lower rates of anemia, the use of TBV in these clinical settings would be a welcome addition to the hepatitis C armamentarium as we begin to expand the hepatitis C populations that we treat."

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