We treated 665 patients with chronic hepatitis C with interferon (IFN) monotherapy and 288 with combined IFN and ribavirin. At the baseline, age (53.8 ± 11.1 vs. 49.7 ± 10.5 years, p < 0.0001) and activity (p = 0.0207) as well as fibrosis (p = 0.0270) were higher in patients who received combination therapy than in those receiving monotherapy. Compliance to treatment (64.2 vs. 62.1%, p < 0.0001) and discontinuation were more frequent (18.1 vs. 14.5%, p < 0.0001) in patients with combination therapy than in those with monotherapy. Patients with combination therapy with genotype 2 infection achieved sustained viral response (SVR) at a rate of 77.0%, regardless of viral loads, in contrast to those with genotype 1 infection, of whom only 24.4% gained SVR. Of patients with combination therapy, reduction (42.6 vs. 29.0%, p = 0.0453) and discontinuation (34.0 vs. 21.6%, p = 0.0414) of ribavirin were more frequently required in the 47 patients ≥65 years than in the 241 patients <65 years. Although a trend for higher SVR to combination therapy was observed in patients aged <65 than in those aged ≥65 years (39.4 vs. 25.2%), the difference was not significant (p = 0.0819). In patients with genotype 1 infection, IFN monotherapy in addition to the 24-week combination therapy increased the SVR rate (18.3 vs. 42.6%, p = 0.0003). A decrease in SVR was observed with an increased body mass index in patients who received combination therapy.
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