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Study shows Schering-Plough's hepatitis C treatment is superior

Study shows Schering-Plough's hepatitis C treatment is superior

A study released this week at the annual Digestive Disease Week meeting in Chicago shows that Schering-Plough's hepatitis C treatment Peg-Intron is more effective at fighting the virus than Roche's Pegasys treatment. Peg-Intron is especially effective for obese patients, according to the study. Both drugs are long-acting, injectable interferons that are dosed with the drug ribavirin to boost the immune system to better fight the disease in the body. But because the dosage of Peg-Intron is determined by the patient's weight, and Pegasys is given in a standard dose to all patients, Peg-Intron can be better tailored to an individual patient's needs, the study reports. That is particularly useful for overweight patients, for whom standard doses might not be large enough to effectively combat the virus in the body. Researchers in Cleveland report that of 86 HCV patients studied, 53% of obese patients taking Peg-Intron were able to completely control the virus in their bodies; only 18% of obese patients taking Pegasys eliminated the virus. Among average-weight patients, 48% of those taking Peg-Intron cleared the viral infection, compared with 28% of those taking Pegasys. Schering-Plough is currently conducting a large-scale, head-to-head study of the two treatments. Results will be published in 2007. Health officials estimate that as many as 4 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C. It is a common coinfection among HIV-positive adults.

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